Will the Indo-Pak cricket series be Modi-fied?

Sudipta / 26 December 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprising visit to Pakistan melts the ice of relation in this winter. But, the question is when the cricket dry between India and Pakistan will end. The most anticipated bilateral series in Sri Lanka was cancelled as last minute as the Indian government did not give its approval to BCCI. It was expected that foreign minister Sushma Swaraj would confirm the series with her Pakistan counterpart Sartaj Aziz. But, nothing was discussed on the sidelines Heart of Asia summit in Islamabad.

The Pakistan Cricket Board, who has been suffering a financial crisis, tried to convince BCCI for the scheduled series in UAE.  But BCCI President Shashank Manohar disagreed to play in UAE, as according to him it is not the safe place for cricket. Finally, BCCI agreed to play a short series in Sri Lanka which was cancelled as BCCI failed to get government’s nod.

Now, Modi’s Pakistan visit and birthday wish to Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif fueled hope of PCB for a bilateral series in mid-2016. “Mr Modi has come here and everyone in the PCB is excited. There should be some positive and tangible results. We will know soon,” a Pakistan source said.

As the series in Sri Lanka did not materialise in December –January window, now it is expected that two Boards-BCCI and PCB-would agree to play a series in mid-2016. “It is impossible to hold the series now as valuable time has gone. But we will now wait and see when the Indian board tells us they have got clearance from their government to play with us. If the clearance comes from the Indians, then we can look at finding a window to play a bilateral series sometime in 2016,” PCB chief Shaharyar Khan said on Thursday. 

The broadcaster of the series Ten Sports also feel next summer will be the perfect time for the bilateral series if Indian government gives a nod.

“A full-fledged series is likely in June-July. We’ve been given to understand that,” an official for Ten Sports told Mumbai Mirror. 

But, the series has another threat, with BCCI announcing the four-Test India-West Indies series in July-August 2016, there will be a small pocket in June-July. After IPL 9, which will start six days after the ICC World T20, on April 9 and will continue till May 24. To squeeze a little chance of the Indo-Pak series, it is known that India would tour Zimbabwe for a short series in June 2016.

“That is the plan. We are committed to them and we will be playing there. It is a pre-arranged series,” said a BCCI member. 

BCCI mandarins don’t want to talk about Pakistan series. Whenever asked to them about the series. They answer,”It’s up to the Indian government.” 

However, if the series finalized, it will be played in England, not in Sri Lanka. The series is not possible in UAE because  of weather than BCCI’s objection.

For now India’s summer schedule is packed with one Test, three ODIs in Zimbabwe and four Tests against the West Indies in the Caribbean.  

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