Cricket Diplomacy: India mulls playing Pakistan in Sri Lanka or Bangladesh

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Shahryar Khan & Shashank Manohar
Shahryar Khan & Shashank Manohar

The fate of the India-Pakistan cricket series hangs in balance. The hopes of playing the series, which recently receded, received a unexpected boost, as BCCI president Shashank Manohar, who is also the chairman of the International Cricket Council, met his PCB counterpart,  Shaharyar Khan, at the ICC headquarters, to discuss the proposed series between India and Pakistan, scheduled to be held in December; the meeting was termed a fruitful, thus raising the speculation that the much talked about series could eventually take place if things fall into place.

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke, who is also the ‘Pakistan Task Force’ Chairman, along with senior PCB official Najam Sethi, were present at the meeting. “PCB & BCCI officials had a fruitful discussion in the ICC office in Dubai, facilitated by ECB’s Giles Clarke, who will field all questions in matter,” Sethi later tweeted.

While the outcome of the meeting is not yet known, the PCB chairman also termed it as a “fruitful” meeting. “We had a fruitful meeting in which Sethi was there, Clarke was there as facilitator, it was a fruitful meeting and the decision is that Clarke will brief the media ,” Khan told media persons. “We have also decided that there will be no further briefing. I am not in a position to say more than this,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Manohar told The National newspaper, that, India have not received a reply from the PCB on a proposal to play the matches in India. “We want to play in India. That is the thing,” Manohar said. “Presently, we gave an option to Pakistan asking them whether they will come to India. Pakistan was to get back to me, they haven’t got back to me. So I don’t know what is the position.”

“The matter is now political,” Khan had said recently.

“Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif has directed us that any decision will now be taken by the government and not by the PCB.”

Pakistan and India have not played a full bilateral series since 2007. They played a short limited overs series in 2012-13. According to the MoU, both the boards had agreed to play six series between 2015-2023, with four series to be hosted by Pakistan.

With time running out, the likely series, if played,  could be a shortened series, with a single Test match, followed by a couple of T20 Internationals, and three ODIs. The BCCI has also said that, there are all for playing in a neutral venue like Sri Lanka or Bangladesh, rather than UAE, which has been a “No” as far as the BCCI is concerned.

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