The bilateral series between Pakistan and India has got clearance from the Pakistan government. In a twist though, despite Sri Lanka being widely reported as the frontrunner to host the series, a fact confirmed by BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has told media in Lahore that the venue was yet to be finalised. Khan indicated the choice was between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He ruled out the possibility of England hosting a Pakistan-India series next summer, as was reported in Pakistan.
“Both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have their pluses and minuses, but we are yet to make a final decision on venues. We know Sri Lanka’s biggest minus is that it rains a lot and we don’t want that we go there and return without playing the game,” Khan said. “Bangladesh is also a good venue as we have good board-to-board terms and we have very good public support there as well, so we are not disregarding Bangladesh either. So it will be one from those choices and there is no proposal from England as widely speculated.”
The Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s spokesman and federal information minister Pervez Rashid meanwhile told reporters in Abu Dhabi: “The Prime Minister has given permission for Pakistan to play cricket matches with India in Sri Lanka.”
Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Federal Minister of Inter Provincial Coordination, said that the PM had sought advice from his department before giving the approval. “We are all in for playing the sport with India to extend friendship at every level,” said Pirzada. “For us cricket should be played and I have advised the PM to allow them to play as this is the one way for the diplomacy. Cricket has been a tool for people-to-people contact. We have given them our advice and it now the prerogative of the PM to decide.”
HAVEN’T HEARD FROM PM:
Shahryar Khan put a stop to all the speculations about the Pakistan-India series saying that he hasn’t received any reply from the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“I haven’t received any reply from the PM,” said Shahryar, while addressing reporters.
“Whenever I will receive anything, I will be the first one to forward it to the people. I hope the PM’s reply will reach us in a day or two.
When asked if he has received any telephone call or anything else from the PM or his office, Shahryar said: “I have been a government servant for more than 35 years and it was normal practice for us not to believe anything untill it came in written.
I haven’t received anything in written so the media should not jump to conclusions until everything is finalised and announced.”
Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla announced that India and Pakistan will play five cricket matches starting December 15 in Sri Lanka.
Shahryar’s claim that he hasn’t received anything brings everything back to square one.
“Everything will be announced once both governments give a green signal for the series,” added Shahryar.
On question on return of international cricket to Pakistan, the PCB chairman said the state of security was the only reason for the delay.
“The only reason Pakistan isn’t hosting international teams is security. We are slowly opening the doors to international cricket,” concluded Shahryar.