What’s the story?
According to a report in the Indian Express, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has approached the Home Ministry, seeking government approval to play a series against Pakistan in Dubai later in the year.
A source was quoted by the Indian Express saying, “Permission has been sought from Home Ministry, but we don’t know what the government’s stand is. Last time, the tension between the two countries was at its peak.
“Also, there is the FTP agreement that needs to be fulfilled and that’s why the board is willing to travel to Dubai to play a series against Pakistan. Unless the government gives its nod, the BCCI cannot do anything.”
In case you didn’t know…
Political tension between the two neighbouring countries has marred any possibility of India and Pakistan facing each other on the cricket field outside International Cricket Council (ICC) competitions since 2012.
Pakistan have not hosted any nation in their country due to security concerns. At the same time, India have refused to play in neutral venues citing political unrest.
The heart of the matter
An India-Pakistan series might not be too far away as the Indian cricket board has written to the government seeking permission to play against Pakistan. This, of course, is a requirement on the part of the BCCI as they have obligations under the Future Tours & Programme (FTP) agreement.
So far, India have refused to play a bilateral series against their arch-rivals in November-December 2017 (as scheduled), and honour the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by India back in 2014. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar Khan had admitted that they could be taking the issue with the ICC.
Earlier in 2016, the BCCI had, in fact, sought government approval to host Pakistan when Shashank Manohar was the President. However, they did not get clearance owing to the tension and the subsequent terror attacks.
Now, the BCCI is looking to play a bilateral series in September or November window – a window which was reserved for the now discontinued Champions League T20 tournament.
India are scheduled to face South Africa in November and the BCCI wants a short series before that. If the government does give their approval, the series will be the first bilateral series between the two nations since 2012.
The BCCI is currently under transition following the Lodha Committee Recommendations and should PCB take the matter to the ICC, it could prove to be a controversial matter for the Indian board. However, even their hands are tied unless the government gives the approval.
Cricket fans have been waiting for a long time to witness an India-Pakistan series and should the government give the go-ahead, it could be a win-win situation for all parties.