PCB, BCCI facing hurdles to revive bilateral series

Karachi: The Pakistan and Indian cricket Boards are facing a logistical headache scheduling their bilateral Test series next year in March-April as the Asia Cup tournament is clashing with the much anticipated series.

According to a senior official of the Pakistan cricket Board, the problem was arising because while Pakistan was due to tour India from first week of March, the Asia Cup was also scheduled to start in Bangladesh around the same time.

The official said the statements emanating from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) about finding a suitable time slot for the revival of bilateral series between the two countries pertained to this problem.

"The Asian cricket Council (ACC) and the Indians are trying to find a solution because under International cricket Council regulations bilateral tours take precedence over everything else," the official said.

Interestingly, when the ACC finalised the Asia Cup schedule and awarded the event to Bangladesh, bilateral ties between Pakistan and India were suspended by the Indian board on apparent instructions of its government.

But after the 2011 World Cup semi-final in Mohali and the visit of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani for the match on the invitation of his Indian counterpart, the diplomatic and political scenario between the two nations have improved a bit.

And recently the Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar also officially visited India and held talks with Indian foreign ministry and government officials in which resumption of bilateral cricket ties also came under discussion.

"The problem is that both Pakistan and India have a packed international calendar for the next eight months and they are also instances where when Pakistan is free India is busy or when India is free Pakistan team is scheduled to play matches," the official said.

The official said that when the chief executives meeting is held next month, the PCB would hold talks with the Indian board officials to resolve the issue.

He said some solution would have to be found as the ACC and member countries also didn`t want the Asia Cup postponed as the ACC had commitments with its broadcasters.

He added that any suggestion on part of the PCB to the BCCI to split or share earnings of the series in India could only be discussed once the schedule was finalised.

"That is why any meaningful talks will only begin on such issues next month and after the Indian board sorts out the time slot and dates issues," he said.

He also clarified that the PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt had not gone to New Delhi to meet with Indian board officials and said no official meeting was scheduled between them.

The PCB official conceded that Pakistan was keen for the bilateral series to resume and wanted to tour India and was also willing to play the Indians at any neutral venue.

India has not played any bilateral cricket match with Pakistan since late 2007 and cancelled a full tour to Pakistan in early 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.


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