If India and Pakistan do play bilateral cricket again this year, Board of Control for Cricket in India or BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya wants the series to be held in India, with the first Test match in Kolkata, sources said today.
The Pakistan Cricket Board or PCB, which said on Sunday that it expects to play a bilateral series with India in December, has proposed that it be held in the United Arab Emirates. India has as yet not confirmed that it will resume playing bilateral Test cricket with the neighbour.
It had cancelled bilateral cricket after Pakistani militants killed 166 people in the Mumbai terror attack of November 2008, but had hosted Pakistan in 2012-13 for a short limited over series.(
“If the approval of the government is required, fine, but we should make a very clear decision…the world wants to see Pakistan and India playing each other,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan told NDTV after meeting Mr Dalmiya in Kolkata on Sunday.
Mr Khan has also met Arun Jaitley, who has reportedly asked the two boards to first discuss compensation for broadcasters, before the Indian government considers the proposal, weighing security concerns among other things, sources said.
There is a section in India that opposes resuming cricketing ties with Pakistan. RK Singh, a lawmaker of ruling party BJP and a former senior bureaucrat, raised the issue in parliament on Monday, saying, “A country which is giving shelters to the terrorists, who have attacked and had carried out bomb blasts against us, what is a point of playing cricket with that country, I don’t understand.”
He requested the government to turn down the proposal to play three tests, five one-dayers and two Twenty20 internationals in December, adding, “You don’t have friendly relations with a country which sends terrorists across the Line of Control everyday.”
The Indian board has, however, said it is looking forward to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan. “Since there are certain matters that need to be addressed and considered, it was decided to take appropriate steps. The two boards would be in regular touch and review the situation,” BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said in a statement.
On being asked about RK Singh’s statement, Shaharyar Khan told NDTV “Many in the Indian government are keen to see this series go on. I am confident it would.”
To hold the series in India, a memorandum of understanding between the two boards will have to be redrafted; the present one states that Pakistan will host the first series and the two teams will play each other five times over eight years.
Shaharyar Khan admitted that the security situation in Pakistan is not conducive for it to host a full series. “The security situation (in Pakistan) is improving fast but we know that right now India would not be able to come for a full tour,” Mr Khan told a news channel recently, adding, “We therefore have decided that we’d play in the UAE.”
Pakistan have not hosted international cricket since the 2009 attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team which forced them to play home matches in the UAE.
In Pakistan’s Karachi today, at least 47 people were killed this morning when armed men entered a packed bus and opened fire.