‘Pakistan-India series may be reduced to meaningless fixtures’


The much-blighted Pakistan-India series could be curtailed into a meaningless round of two ODIs and one T20 should the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) continue to offer a dead bat to its counterpart, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said on Tuesday.

The fate of a planned series between Pakistan and India is expected to be decided during a visit to Islamabad by India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who arrived in Pakistan to attend the Heart of Asia regional conference.

But according to the PCB official, who requested anonymity, India’s reluctance to give Pakistan a clear answer has left the board with possibility of arranging only a very short series which could see the number of games being reduced.

“Both the boards cannot delay the dates of the series as both the teams have their international commitments in January,” the official said.

According to the official the series could not be organised “before or after December 15” which would mean chopping one ODI from the three ODI series and taking out one game from the two-match T20 series.

The series, agreed between the two boards in a memorandum of understanding signed last year, was originally scheduled to pit the two teams in three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, but ran into trouble amid strained political relations.

On Monday, the PCB said it was awaiting the Indian government’s approval of a shortened limited-over series three one-day and two T20 internationals to be held in Sri Lanka which it agreed with the BCCI last month.

The PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who had given the BCCI a December 7 deadline to decide on the series, said: “We have been informally told that Swaraj will talk on cricket and decide the fate of the series.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi met on the sidelines of a climate change conference in Paris last week as the two countries seek a thaw in relations.

That informal meeting was followed by “cordial” talks between the Indian and Pakistani national security advisers in Bangkok on Sunday, giving Khan fresh hope the series could yet take place.

“The recent meeting between the two prime ministers and security advisers’ meeting in Bangkok have hinted the situation between Pakistan and India will improve,” he said.

Making arrangements for the series which could run from Dec 17-Jan 3 would be “challenging” at such short notice, Khan said, “but we will do it once we get clearance from the Indian government”.