No Indo-Pak series in 2017, confirms Najam Sethi

MUMBAI: It is a well-known fact that Indo-Pak matches get a significant share of revenues compared to other matches in the cricketing world, irrespective of the venue and the tournament. PCB executive committee (EC) head Najam Sethi has ruled out the possibility of an Indo-Pak bilateral series in 2017.

Sethi told reporters that the existing circumstances will take time to change and he hopes India does not avoids playing them in the Champions Trophy next year in England. The 67-year-old former journalist also said that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will follow government-issued directives to boycott all sporting ties with India, likely to be passed by the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination of Pakistan.

Inflicting a major blow to sponsors and advertisers in India, Sethi also ruled out any possibility of Indo-Pak cricket on Indian soil. The cricket head said that the Pakistan Cricket Team will never go to play on Indian soil again, saying that the Indian Cricket team will have to play at a venue of their choice, as Pakistan will be hosting the series, if any. After the terror attack on Sri Lankan Cricket team in March 2009, no major cricketing nation has toured Pakistan due to security concerns.

In 2004, the PCB was bankrupt before the Indian cricket team traveled to the neighboring country. At the end of the year, the organization reported a profit in excess of INR 200 crore that year. It has been reported that the PCB has lost over US$80 million in terms of broadcasting and other commercial rights not playing against India.

The 2011 World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan had 988 million television viewers, attracting over a million viewers on some instances in the past according to TV rating firms. Ad experts say that the rate of a 10-seconder for an Indian match is usually 10-13 lakh, which soars up to 20 lakh in an Indo-Pak game.

Sethi re-iterated that India should not boycott Pakistan at ICC events, as it will see a drop in large chunk of the revenues which is dependent on this never-ending rivalry. Sethi told reporters that it would be a huge financial loss for everyone including the ICC if India boycotts Pakistan at ICC events, and both countries shouldn’t take any such step to receive their shares from cricket’s governing body.

This might serve as a little breather to the advertisers and sponsors who gain a majority of their sporting revenue from Indo – Pak cricket matches. The rivalry between these two countries is one of the most awaited sporting events in the world and the cricket-frenzy fan-base on both sides of the border ensures it becomes an issue of national pride.

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