The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Monday gave its nod to revive bilateral ties with arch rivals Pakistan, that have been frozen since Mumbai attacks in 2008. The Indian cricket board agreed to host Pakistan in a short limited-overs series, comprising three One Day Internationals and two T20 Internationals, in December-January.
The cricket teams of the two countries have not played a bilateral series since 2007, though they have played each other in a couple of Asia Cup matches during this period. India was scheduled to visit Pakistan in late 2008 for the return leg of the bilateral series, but BCCI called the tour off in the wake of Mumbai attacks. Now, after agreeing to revive the cricketing ties with the subcontinent neighbours, the BCCI did not give any gesture of touring Pakistan, or even playing the return leg of the bilateral series at some neutral venue.
Labelling the report as “fabricated”, the PCB chief said that it was an attempt to sabotage the bilateral cricketing relations between the two countries that has recently been resumed after a gap of five years. “This is a fabricated story and we do not reflect any of this thinking,” said Zaka Ashraf. “Our main focus has been the revival of cricketing relations between the two countries. We never have thought on revenue lines at all. Whoever has put this out has done so with an intent to sabotage this process,” he added further.
Meanwhile PCB spokesman said that Pakistan’s first priority was to revive cricketing relations with India and money had not been a consideration. “Pakistan’s first priority was to revive cricketing ties with India and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ch Zaka Ashraf was focused on that. We wanted to take a start and for that we were negotiating since October last year,” said the spokesman.
Tour revenues normally go to the host nation, but reports in Indian media suggested Pakistan wanted the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to split the money. Television rights alone for an India-Pakistan series are estimated to be worth $25 million but the figure could be much higher given India’s vast TV audiences.
“Such reports about the proposal of revenue sharing for India-Pakistan series have no relevance and do not express the views of the PCB. The revenue sharing thing never came under discussion,” the spokesman clarified.
The BCCI said Tuesday that they were hopeful of getting the necessary clearance for the series from New Delhi. Although India and Pakistan have met in events like the World Cup and Asia Cup, their last bilateral series was in 2007, when the Pakistani team visited India. Cricketing ties between the arch-rivals were suspended after the Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistan-based militant group.