Indian govt set to reject Pakistan cricket series, Indian media claims


NEW DELHI: The Indian government is believed to have signaled to the cricket board that it is not in favor of playing with Pakistan as of now, even in a neutral venue like Sri Lanka, the Hindustan Times reported on Friday.
“The government has given us an indication that public sentiment at the moment is against Pakistan.. Also, there are only a few days left for the proposed series to start (in the latter half of December). If the government wanted us to play, we would have got clearance a long time ago. So, I don’t think this series is happening,” a top official at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told HT on Thursday.
A spokesperson of the Indian external affairs ministry also said, “We are yet to take a decision.”
The BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said the board had not received any official word from the government.
BCCI sources said IPL chief and Congress MP Rajeev Shukla’s remarks, that sports and politics should not be mixed, did not go down well with the Centre.
The paper further reporter that “a view” on whether the time had come to de-link cricketing ties with Pakistan and the political situation was being discussed within the government and no final decision had been taken.
The BCCI had sought the government’s permission for a short ODI and T20 series against Pakistan in Sri Lanka sometime after December 15.
India and Pakistan were scheduled to play two Tests, five one-dayers and two Twenty20 internationals in December and January.
Pakistan have been playing their home series in the United Arab Emirates because of security fears at home, but India was unwilling to send its team to the UAE.
Later, Sri Lanka emerged as a likely solution after crisis talks at the weekend between PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) counterpart Shashank Manohar in Dubai failed to end the stalemate.
The meeting was organized by Giles Clarke, who heads the ICC Pakistan task force.
Both cricket boards had signed a memorandum of understanding last year to play at least six series from 2015 to 2023, with Pakistan hosting the first one in December. But all series were subject to clearance from their respective governments.
The BCCI was willing to talk about compensating the PCB in case it agreed to play the series in India, but Pakistan rejected the proposal, saying India should honor its commitment.
Pakistan also said India had not made any request about sharing revenue.
India and Pakistan have not played a full series since 2007. New Delhi halted all cricket matches with Pakistan following the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, although they did play a limited-overs series in 2012.