Indian government casts shadow over Pakistan series


The Indian government’s delay in granting permission has put a cloud over the resumption of the Pakistan-India bilateral series.

The senior minister in the Indian government believes the chance of the series taking place is “very difficult”, and that a final decision will be taken by the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Neither Thakur nor the BCCI president Shashank Manohar were available for a comment. However, a senior board official said he personally felt the series would not happen: “It looks unlikely considering the government has not said anything.”

Both the BCCI and the PCB had met recently in Dubai and agreed to play a series in Sri Lanka subject to clearances from their national governments. On Friday, the PCB revealed that the Pakistan government had given the nod for the series, allowing Pakistan to play India in Sri Lanka. However, the Indian government has remained quiet since BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur submitted a written request to the Indian foreign ministry on Tuesday.

The PCB, on its part, has been fretting over the sudden silence from the BCCI over the last few days. If indeed the series does not take place, it would be a major setback for cricketing ties between the two countries.

After expressing its reluctance in public frequently, the BCCI checked with the PCB earlier this month whether Pakistan were open to traveling to India to play a series between December and the first week of January.

The PCB rejected that offer on two counts, saying it was Pakistan’s turn to host India in the UAE according to the MoU signed by both boards in 2014. The PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan also expressed surprise at the offer to play in India when there had been open protests against Pakistanis in India by the Shiv Sena, a regional political party.

Despite the setback, Manohar and Shaharyar finally met in Dubai on November 21, where it was decided Pakistan would host India in Sri Lanka. Although neither of the two boards had revealed how many matches would be played, it was understood there would be three ODIs and two T20Is tentatively starting December 15.