Pakistan to tour India in December
The wait for fans in India and Pakistan to see the two countries face each other in a bilateral series is set to end. The BCCI confirmed today that Pakistan will tour India for three One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 matches in December – January.
This will be the first bilateral series between India and Pakistan since 2007. The short series will be held in the in the 15-day gap during the India-England Test and ODI series. This was the only slot available for the Indian team.
Sources in India’s foreign ministry said Pakistan, during the foreign secretary-level talks between Ranjan Mathai and Jalil Abbas Jilani in New Delhi on July 4-5, had also proposed to use India as a ‘neutral venue’ for Pakistan’s ‘home series’ against other countries.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has been pushing for resumption of ties in recent months; but because of a lack of response from the BCCI, there was speculation cricketing ties between the two countries would not be resumed ths year.
On Thursday, PCB chairman Muhammad Zaka Ashraf said that his government has given all-clear to play India, but stressed that he was yet to hear from the Board of Control for Cricket in India, following a meeting with his counterpart N Srinivasan in Kuala Lumpur last month.
But, with today’s announcement, the decks are cleared for the much-awaited bilateral series to finally take place.
The cricketing ice started thawing in May when Srinivasan invited Ashraf to watch the IPL final in Chennai.
Following the IPL final, Pakistan’s T20 champions Sialkot Stallions were invited to participate in the 2012 Twenty20 Champions League. At the time Ashraf had said, “We welcome the invitation for the Stallions to take part in Champions League and it is a good gesture shown by the Indian authorities to move forward for reviving cricket ties between the two countries.”
The series is subject to the Indian government’s approval.
Bilateral cricketing ties were snapped following the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008, though India and Pakistan have since played each other in the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Asia Cup.
It is Pakistan’s turn to host a bilateral series between the two. But there has been no international cricket in Pakistan between Full Members since the March 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus; and India was not keen to play at a neutral venue.
News channel NDTV quoted sources as saying Mohali, New Delhi and Dharamsala are the likely venues for the series.
Speaking to television news channels, PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf welcomed the move, though he said the board hasn’t received official confirmation as yet from their Indian counterpart. “If this is true, I think it is a good omen. The talks between us have always been on the line that cricketing ties should be resumed between India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan are great cricketing nations and they should resume playing with each other,” he said.