The Cricket Board on Thursday appeared to be in the dark about government’s nod for resumption of Indo-Pak cricket ties even as Pakistan ruled out playing at a neutral venue.
“I have only read in the newspapers (about resumption of Indo-Pak cricket ties). I don’t know. You people know more than I know,” BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan said, a day after the government let it be known that the cricketing ties, suspended since the aftermath of the 26/11 terror attack, will be resumed probably in early 2012.
The government’s decision came as a surprise to the BCCI given that the Indian team has a full calendar.
Immediately after the ongoing IPL, India is scheduled to tour the West Indies for four Tests and five ODIs, followed by a long tour of England in July-August.
England will then come to India for a one-day series in November and West Indies will follow for a three-Test and five ODI series. The Indians then travel to Australia for a high-profile series in December-January.
ICC has slated Pakistan’s tour of India in March 2012 in its Future Tours Programme and reports have said that India may tour Pakistan ahead of that. Cricket circles were skeptical if the Indian players would be willing to take the risk of touring Pakistan.
Even Sri Lankan Cricket Board has made it clear to PCB that their players were reluctant to travel for the proposed Pakistan Premier League and a subsequent Test series because of security concerns.
The Sri Lankan authorities have also conveyed that they would prefer if the FTP scheduled later this year in Pakistan was held at neutral venues like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
But the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said that the dates for India’s tour would be worked out in June after directives from Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani.
“We have got positive signals from across the border, which is a good sign for Indo-Pak cricket,” Butt said.
Butt, however, said that since the Prime Minister has instructed the PCB not to plan the series at any neutral venue, the Indian team would be invited to play in Pakistan.
“The revival series will not be held at a neutral venue because the Prime Minister wants us to play host to the Indians and we are confident that we can organise the series safely and successfully,” Butt said.
“What we need to now work out is find a suitable time slot from the busy schedules of both teams to organise this series.”
Butt also hinted that due to the packed calendar of the Indian team, the series could be split into two parts, saying that the T20 and One-day matches could be played at one time, followed by the Test series later.
He said that since the Prime Minister was taking personal interest in the matter, foolproof security would be provided for the proposed series.
“We are also hopeful that if we can host India in Pakistan. It will also pave the way for other teams to tour Pakistan.”
India cancelled a tour to Pakistan in early 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks and suspended all bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan.
But the ice broke recently when Pakistan’s premier visited Mohali on the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and they watched the World Cup semi-final together.