KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) authorities have come under fire for not postponing the fourth One-day International against New Zealand by a day in the wake of the terrorist attack in a Peshawar Army Public School in which around 132 schoolchildren were killed.
Former Test players and critics on different television channels and in newspapers have questioned why the PCB didn't show solidarity with the nation in the time of grieve and sadness. The criticism has grown to an extent where the PCB has been forced to issue clarifications about its decision and, in its justification, said there has been an issue with the broadcasters.
"Yes we also wanted to postpone the match but there were several reasons for not being able to do this," PCB chief Shaharyar Khan said last night. "Mainly we had to contend with the broadcaster who had prior commitments to show the match on prime time globally since it is an ODI and secondly the ICC also had issues confirming match officials for back-to-back matches," Khan said.
But former Test spinner, Nadeem Khan, who is the elder brother of Pakistan's team manager and chief selector Moin Khan said he was surprised about the issue about broadcasters. "I don't understand this reason because the entire nation is grieving for the schoolchildren and even if the board had to bear some commercial losses so what but this is our home series and I don't think the broadcasters should dictate to us," he said.
Interestingly, when reminded about statements issued by New Zealand captain Ken Williamson that no one spoke to him about postponing the match and about Cricket New Zealand's statement that they shared the grief of the Pakistani people and would cooperate with whatever decision the PCB took, Khan said it was correct no one spoke to the Kiwi skipper.
"He is right because we were in talks with their cricket board and we wanted to postpone the game. But we have decided to not only donate proceeds of the gate money for the school but if need arises we will also go to the school and play a match there and spend time with the children affected by this tragedy," the PCB chief said.
Reliable sources in the government said that the PCB's failure to not postpone the match had also met with disapproval by some quarters in the government. "When they could postpone a day's play in the third Test against New Zealand after the sad demise of Australian, Phil Hughes, this was a much bigger tragedy," former captain Rashid Latif said.
Khan explained that they had spoken to their players but since the broadcasters had a lot of commercial commitments for the ODI, it could not be postponed.