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India-Pakistan cricket set for revival; 3 ODIs in Dec

Last updated on: July 16, 2012 19:12 IST

India-Pakistan cricketing ties are set for revival, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India agreeing to play three ODIs and two T20 matches with the neighboring country.  

The countries have not played each other in a bilateral series after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.

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The decision to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan was taken by the BCCI's powerful Working Committee, which met in Delhi on Monday. It evoked mixed reactions from former cricketers and fans from both countries.

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"It was decided to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan by inviting the Pakistan cricket team for a short series in December 2012 - January 2013. The modalities will be worked out shortly," read a statement from the BCCI after the meeting.

Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi will be the venues for the one-dayers while Bangalore and Ahmedabad will host the two T20 matches.

"The BCCI Working Committee today decided to resume the India vs Pakistan cricket ties inviting them in the third week of December to play three ODIs and two T20 matches," said senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla.

"BCCI was firm on its stand that no Indo-Pak series will be held on any neutral venue. So it was decided to invite them after December 22 when the England team leaves after playing the Twenty20 Internationals.

The BCCI has scheduled the short series when England returns from its tour of India for the Christmas break.

"This was the slot where the tour could have been accommodated and we did that accordingly. I have spoken to Home minister, P Chidambaram and he has said that there is no objection on the part of the ministry. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has also agreed on having this tour," said Shukla.

Ties were snapped after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and there were several attempts by the Pakistan Cricket Board in recent months to convince the BCCI for resumption as contests featuring the two arch-rivals are a huge hit with fans and generate good revenue.

India and Pakistan last played in a bilateral series in November 2007. India clinched the series 3-2.

"The PCB has been very persistent over the past few years on resuming cricketing ties with Pakistan and if you remember we have also played against Pakistan even after 1971 war and after 1999 Kargil war… we have played a series in Pakistan," Shukla said.

Questioned whether this created a window of opportunity for the Indian team to travel to Pakistan, Shukla said, "Until the security situation in that country is conducive, there is absolutely no question of India travelling to Pakistan."

The PCB was keen on hosting India to end the international isolation that came with the 2009 Lahore terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers. But with the BCCI reluctant to agree to such an idea because of security concerns, PCB was also willing to play at a neutral venue.

The resumption of cricket ties also got a boost after the foreign secretaries of both the countries asserted that sporting relations should be strengthened.

The thaw in the relations was evident much earlier when the BCCI invited Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 champion Sialkot Stallions to participate in the Qualifying Tournament of Champions League Twenty20 to be held in South Africa later this year.

During the recent visit of PCB chief Zaka Ashraf to India and at last month's ICC and Asian Cricket Council meetings in Malaysia, there were discussions between officials of both the Boards on the matter.

The process actually started last year during the World Cup semi-final clash between the two sides in Mohali where Prime Ministers of both the countries were present and even met each other on the sidelines.

AGENCIES