Conceding that time is running out for the proposed Indo-Pak bilateral cricket series to take place, BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur on Thursday said the Board is still waiting for the government approval before taking any decision.
India are set to leave for their Australia tour on January 5, which leaves little time for the high-profile series to take place.
“Media were hoping that Sushma Swaraj’s visit will decide the fate of the cricket series. But when it comes to relations between countries a lot is at stake and many things are taken into consideration before coming to a definite conclusion”, Thakur said.
“Whenever the Indian government will take a decision on this we will let you know,” Thakur told reporters at the sidelines of the signing of an MoU between the Afghanistan Cricket Board and the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority.
“It is their (PCB) call what is a comfortable time to host the series. We leave for Australia on the 5th of January and after a long series with South Africa it is every important to give the players 4-5 days rest. So Ideally if you have to fly on 5th you be free by 30th (of December),” he added.
According to an MoU signed between the two nations, the PCB was supposed to host India in December for a bilateral series, but a series of flip flops from the two boards has resulted in confusion. Thakur, though, insisted that BCCI has been clear on government approval from the very start.
“I must set the record straight for everyone’s benefit that in April 2014 BCCI’s ex-boss had signed an agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board while bringing a few changes to the constitution of ICC. According to which if resolutions take place in the ICC constitution then India will play against Pakistan in this period for the next eight years.
“And according to that agreement, the PCB was supposed to host India on a neutral venue in the month of December. PCB chairman and BCCI President met in Dubai and decided that we will play a series in Sri Lanka and both the Cricket Board’s will seek permission from their respective government’s for political clearance.
“BCCI wrote a letter to the Indian government, because Indo-Pak relations are always like this and this is not the first time that the series is on hold like this. If you look at the last 30 years then many a time an Indo-Pak series has happened and stopped. And a lot has depended on the relations between the two countries,” he said.
After a series of requests and meetings for the proposed series to take place, PCB Chariman Shaharyar Khan on Wednesday admitted that time is running out for the rubber to take place. But Thakur insists that there has been no official communication from the PCB.
“We haven’t heard anything officially from the PCB chairman. Until we get something in writing or anything is communicated to BCCI, I won’t be in a position to make any comment on that,” Thakur said.
“Look PCB will be playing host and in how much time they will be able to make it happen will depend on them. But the BCCI has made it’s position pretty clear that because of the 2014 agreement that came into being before my term as Secretary, we had to write to them and ask for permission from the government. And till the government does not give its nod, BCCI will not take any step.
“The security of national players is top priority and government’s decision is also top on agenda. And one has to look at many other things when it comes to taking decisions regarding Pakistan,” he added.
Meanwhile IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla also insisted that the ball is in government’s court as far as Indo-Pak cricket is concerned.
“About the Indo-Pak series I can only say that we are still awaiting the govenrment’s response. The Honorary Secratary BCCI had written to the Ministry of External Affairs and so far they haven’t responded. The moment we get a response, I will let you know.
“In any case there is a paucity of time as far as holding the series is concerned, these concerns have been addressed by the PCB as well. So we can’t say anything unless the government responds,” he said.