Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given permission to the Pakistani cricket team to play a series against India in Sri Lanka next month, media reports said.
In India, IPL governing council chief Rajeev Shukla on Thursday said the two boards — BCCI and the Pakistan Cricket Board — have agreed to the venue, and that the Indian government’s final approval was awaited. He said five matches are likely to be played in Sri Lanka.
“India-Pakistan series will happen tentatively from December 15 in Sri Lanka which will mark the resumption of cricketing ties between the two sides,” Shukla, who has good friends in the PCB, said in New Delhi.
According to media reports, sources in the PCB said that Sahrif had given approval for the series after Sri Lanka was finalised as venue for the matches.
“The Pakistan government never had a problem with the series going ahead. It only had reservations about the team travelling to India amid the prevailing tensions,” the source said. “India-Pakistan series will happen tentatively from December 15 in Sri Lanka.”
Pakistan and India’s cricket boards have been deadlocked for months on a venue for the series. The BCCI had refused to play in the United Arab Emirates, the ‘home venue’ of the PCB, as international teams are not touring Pakistan due to security concerns.
After the BCCI’s refusal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as ‘neutral’ venues were proposed.
Giles Clarke, who heads International Cricket Council’s Pakistan Task Force, organised a meeting in Dubai between the heads of two cricket boards last week where Sri Lanka was chosen as the venue.
The five-match series is likely to be played in Colombo and Pallekele.
“PCB can benefit from the series in Sri Lanka by earning up to Rs. 3 billion ahead of the Pakistan Super League in February next year,” a media reported quoted a source as saying.
Pakistan and India last played a bilateral Testand ODI series since 2007.
Under the ICC-overseen Memorandum of Understanding, signed between the BCCI and the PCB in 2014, both boards are to play six series between 2015 and 2023, with Pakistan hosting four of them.