Pakistan Women's captain Bismah Maroof has expressed her disappointment at the ICC's decision to equally split the ICC Women's ODI Championship points for their unplayed series against arch-rivals India. The PCB's legal team is understood to be studying the verdict, as per the captain, and may consider knocking on ICC's doors again if it deems necessary.
"It was a disappointing decision. Because we had been waiting for a long time to play India in a bilateral series and I'm sure our board was working on it. But we weren't able to garner a positive response," Mahroof said in a video conference arranged by the PCB on Tuesday (April 28).
The ongoing political tensions between the two nations have put their bilateral cricket series on hold indefinitely. India and Pakistan were supposed to lock horns in the sixth of the seven rounds of the ICC Women's ODI Championship 2017-20, the points from which count towards the direct qualification for the 2021 World Cup.
But with the BCCI unable to procure necessary government clearances for hosting the series, the three ODIs were left out of the roster and the matter referred to the ICC. The ICC's Technical Committee termed it a "force majeure event", deciding to split the six points between the two equally, as opposed to awarding all of them to Pakistan as in the 2014-16 Championship cycle because of India's inability to play the series on both occasions.
Consequently, with three additional points, India (23) pipped Pakistan (19) in the direct qualification race at the last minute, joining Australia, England, South Africa and hosts New Zealand for the tournament. Pakistan subsequently will have to fight their way through the World Cup Qualifiers, slated for July in Sri Lanka pending confirmation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Congratulations to India that they have earned these points without playing competitive matches."
"India-Pakistan matches are always quite hyped and cricket fans have missed the opportunity to witness such exciting contests. Pakistan has always kept politics away from sports and we have shown a willingness to play India. It is disappointing we were able to get those matches. We were No. 4 [No.5] on the Championship table and if we would not have qualified automatically after playing against India, it would have been easier to accept as a team.
The 28-year-old added that the PCB's legal team is already reviewing ICC's call and may refer the matter to ICC's dispute resolution committee if it deems necessary to do so. Mahroof said the team will back the decision they arrive at.
Maroof, recovering from a thumb fracture that ruled her out of the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year, put a positive spin on the situation at hand.
Mahroof also lauded the just-retired former skipper Sana Mir for playing an influential hand in the development of not just the players under her but also the women's sport on the whole in Pakistan.
"Sana Mir is definitely a legend and true ambassador of the game. One of the great minds whom we've all played under. A lot of us players grew under Sana's leadership, and she deserves the credit for it. She had a big hand in stabilizing women's cricket in Pakistan and getting it the recognition it receives today. She has achieved a lot for Pakistan and deservingly gets all the appreciation. I wish her the best in the future.