The BCCI has “officially approached” the Indian government for a “definitive guidance” on the Pakistan-India bilateral series as the next one is scheduled in less than two months.
This has been revealed in a letter that BCCI president Shashank Manohar has written to Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar M. Khan. In his latter, Manohar has expressed his “sincere regrets” at the cancellation of his talks with him on October 19 in Mumbai due to Shiv Sainiks’ protest.
The news of Manohar’s letter to Khan was disclosed in a PCB press release on Thursday.
This is the first time that a BCCI office-bearer has gone on record saying that the Board had formally approached the national government for its views/permission on India-Pakistan series. Some other BCCI officials have been saying that the government would have the final word on the issue.
As per the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, India and Pakistan are scheduled to play three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals in December in the UAE. And looking at the individual itineraries of the BCCI and the PCB, the available window for these matches is between 10 December and 5 January.
It, however, remains to be seen what decision the Indian government takes.
“Chairman PCB, Mr. Shaharyar M. Khan has received a letter from president BCCI, Mr. Shashank Manohar, regarding the cancellation of their meeting in Mumbai. Mr. Manohar has expressed his sincere regrets for the cancellation of the meeting between officials from the two Boards,” the PCB statement said on Thursday.
“Under pressure from extremist elements, BCCI cancelled its meeting with PCB officials which was scheduled to take place in Mumbai. It has also been conveyed that the BCCI has officially approached the Indian government to obtain definitive guidance on the Pakistan-India series,” read the release.
It further said, “The PCB maintains that sports and politics should not be mixed, and hopes that the BCCI will not be held hostage by extremist elements who wish to sabotage bilateral cricket relations. The series, scheduled to be held in the UAE at the end of this year, is part of an MoU signed between PCB and BCCI.”
The MOU, signed under the aegis of the ICC, entails the BCCI and the PCB to play six series between 2015 and 2023. But, as has been the case, the governments of the two countries will always have the final word.
After the cancellation of talks in Mumbai, after Shiv Sainiks stormed the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai, Khan, along with his wife, met IPL governing council chairman Rajev Shukla at the latter’s New Delhi residence the next day. The families of Shukla and Khan are said to be quite close to each other.
Khan, a first cousin of late India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, had gone to Mumbai on the invitation of Manohar, who took over the reins recently, after the death of Jagmohan Dalmiya. Manohar, a no nonsense administrator, wanted to make a fresh beginning vis-à-vis the bilateral series.
Apart from Khan, the PCB delegation comprised Najan Sethi, a member on PCB’s Board of Governors, and Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmad.
The two countries have not played a Test series for almost eight years, the last series being in December 2007 when Pakistan toured India. The two countries have, however, bene playing against each other in ICC events, like the World Cup and Champions Trophy.
They are next scheduled to play in the ICC World Twenty20 that will be played in India early next year. According to ICC president Zaheer Abbas, India and Pakistan are to play the first match of the tournament, though the world body hasn’t announced the scheduled yet.