Indo-Pak cricket to resume after 5 years

Zeenews Sports Bureau

New Delhi: After a haitus of five long years, arch-rivals India and Pakistan may play a bilateral series in India in December.

The BCCI on Monday announced the decision which is a welcome move by the Indian board after PCB had proposed for the resumption of cricketing ties between the two countries.

"It was decided to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan by inviting the Pakistan cricket team for a short series in December 2012-January 2013. The modalities will be worked out shortly," the BCCI said in a statement after the meeting.

The planned series is, however, subject to government approval.

"The government is ready in principle to host the Pakistan team", a top BCCI official said

The series will comprise 3 ODIs and two T20Is. The last time the two nations played in a bilateral series was way back in 2007.

As per the latest reports Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi will host ODIs while Bangalore and Ahmedabad will be the venues for the two T20I matches.

The cricket boards of the two countries have agreed in principal to play three One-Day International matches in December this year but the security still remains a concern.

"The government is ready in principle to host the Pakistan team", a top BCCI official said after the Working Committee meeting here.

However, security concerns will be of prime importance. One thing is sure - whichever city the two teams play in will not matter - one can be assured of full house in the stadium. Also the series is going to be a lucrative commercial venture with television broadcasting rights and other business ventures in the offing.

As per reports, the talks for resuming ties between old rivals had been taking place for the past three months.

However, PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf while speaking to Zee News, said that the board is yet to receive any official confirmation from their Indian counterpart.

“As of now we have not received any official confirmation,” he said.

He, however, expressed happiness over the media reports saying that it is a good omen for both the countries.

“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 nation and they should resume playing with each other,” he said.

The Indo-Pak bilateral cricket ties were snapped after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks even though the two teams came face to face in multi-team events such as the 2011 World Cup.

The Pakistan Cricket Board was pushing hard for the resumption of ties but with the BCCI playing hardball citing the busy international schedule.

PCB even offered to host the Indians on neutral turf given the perils of touring the strife-torn nation which is facing considerable revenue loss due to international teams` refusal to play there.

"The matches will be held in metropolitan cities only since we have to take into account the security aspect concerning the Pakistan players. So, the rotation policy will not be followed for the series against Pakistan, a member of the BCCI fixtures committee said.

Remember, Pakistan has been going through a rough patch as far as their cricket is concerned with no international team playing in Pakistan since the 2009 Lahore terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team during some of the visiting players were injured in a terror attack. Also, their players have been accused of spot fixing and have also gone to jail for the same.

The series is likely to be sandwiched during the Christmas break in England's tour of India.

The decision to resume cricket ties evoked mixed response from former cricketers in both the countries. While some of the hailed the decision, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar questioned the "urgency" to revive ties with Pakistan.

With PTI inputs