There may still be time before fans see Pakistan clash with India in a bilateral series as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still finding it hard to schedule the series, despite the International Cricket Council (ICC) keeping vacant slots in its Future Tours Programme (FTP).
A senior official of the BCCI said that the board has got the approval from the country’s government and it was only looking for an available slot to decide the
fate of the scheduled series. Both countries are drawn to play three Tests and five One-Day Internationals from March 12 to April 12 next year with Pakistan due to act as the hosts, according to the FTP.
The arch-rivals have not played a series since December 2007 when Pakistan were hosted by India for a full series. But relations were strained after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. While the two teams have met in other tournaments – the most recent being the World Cup semi-final in Mohali – the schedule of a bilateral series, which somewhat became a regular feature, remained doubtful.
However, hopes were revived of resumption of bilateral ties after the new FTP was released.
According to reports, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said that they had received a green signal from the country’s government as well and was awaiting a response from the BCCI.
‘BCCI has permission’
However, the BCCI Vice-President Rajiv Shukla said the government’s go-ahead was not an issue.
“We have the government’s permission for the series,” the top BCCI official told The Express Tribune. “There is no issue of government’s approval. In fact, the government has asked to go ahead with the series against Pakistan,” added Shukla, who is also a minister of state for parliamentary affairs.
However, the official added that the BCCI is working on finding a suitable slot for the series and has not yet responded to the PCB due to this reason.
“We are aware of the FTP but we still will have to create a window due to the hectic team schedule,” said Shukla before adding that the BCCI was also keen in arranging the bilateral series.
‘HRK visit a boost’
Shukla also termed Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s visit to India a positive development towards revival of bilateral cricket ties between the two neighbouring countries.
However, Shukla, who had hinted that the arrangement of a series will be discussed in BCCI’s August 15 meeting, said the matter was not brought up in Mumbai. “The meeting mainly discussed domestic matters,” said Shukla.
“The BCCI is considering it and may be discussed in the annual meeting next month.” The next BCCI meeting takes place on September 19 and 20.
2007-08: Pakistan 0-1 India
2005-06: Pakistan 1-0 India
2004-05: Pakistan 1-1 India
2003-04: Pakistan 1-2 India
1998-99: Pakistan 1-1 India
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.
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