Tribune News service
New Delhi, November 10
After a brief disruption, the talks to hold the proposed India-Pakistan cricket series in December-January have again gathered steam. A day after the BCCI showed renewed interest in hosting five ODIs and two T20Is against Pakistan, following its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mumbai, it has been learnt that the short series could be held between December 15 and January 7. This is the only window available for the short series, which could be truncated further to three ODIs and two T20s.
Sources said the BCCI has already begun talks with the government and a proposal, specifying the dates of the series, has been submitted by the board to the Union Home Ministry. India is currently playing a four-Test series with South Africa, which will end with the fourth and final Test in Delhi from December 3 to 7. India's next international assignment is a tour to Australia for five ODIs and three T20Is from January 12.
But even if the government gives a go-ahead to the series, there's still one more glitch that both the boards need to sort out - the venue for the series. Rajeev Shukla, the IPL Governing Council chairman and a senior BCCI functionary, said on Tuesday that India would like to host the series at home rather than travelling to a neutral venue.
"We will like to play the December series in India, not at some neutral venue. The Indian team can't go to Pakistan because of safety issues. But we also don't want to play at a neutral venue. So the series has to happen in India," Shukla said. Since the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in March 2009, Pakistan have been hosting most of their international matches in the UAE.
Shukla's comment might not go down well with PCB chief Shahryar Khan, who has already accused the BCCI of not doing enough to revive the bilateral ties and dishonouring the MoU signed between the two boards.
As per the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Future Tours Programme, Pakistan are to host India first for a home series in December. The two boards have agreed to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023. Four of these series will be hosted by Pakistan. The six tours will comprise 14 Tests, 30 ODIs and 12 T20Is. Pakistan had toured India for a short limited-overs series in December 2012-January 2013.
The PCB chief, according to reports in Pakistan media, is expecting some response from the BCCI, especially after its AGM. "We have made it clear that we want to play the series as per the MoU. The Indian board last told us they were waiting for a clearance from their government. Let us see what happens," said Khan. "Now that their AGM is over, we are expecting some response from the BCCI. I would like the BCCI president Shashank Manohar to contact me," Khan was quoted as saying. He added that if the Indian government fails to give permission for the series, he does not expect the Pakistan regime to give PCB the go-ahead to participate in the World T20 in India next year.
"One thing is clear, if their government does not allow them to play the series, then I don't think our government would encourage us to go to India for any event," said Khan.
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