No Indo-Pak bilateral series this year says Anurag Thakur: It has been three years since team India played a bilateral series against Pakistan. And the prolonged wait for the ‘mother of all battles’ has been further extended as the possibility of contesting a two-pronged series between India and Pakistan in 2016 has been ruled out by BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur.
After ample deliberation over the entire issue, the BCCI through Anurag Thakur has decided not to give its green signal to a potential Indo-Pak series any time soon. ‘’No series has been planned against Pakistan this year. India will only play against them in multinational tournaments’’.
Both teams have looked obstinate over the course of time with each party presenting its set of arguments for not playing the series at a neutral venue. In a time when both camps are faring reasonably well in the international circuit with a band of jubilant players who are relatively fresh in the international circuit, the annulment of the series has deprived fans in general and players in particular of a riveting cross border rivalry involving the game of cricket. While the BCCI was reluctant to play the now determinate series in the UAE owing to the Indian Government’s non-consent to the same (considering the string of reprehensible incidents associated with the nation, including hideous offences like match fixing); Pakistan is believed to be miffed at the entire matter for they were supposed to host the series this time around, according to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two camps some time back. The MOU suggested that the ties of the series concerned cannot be organised in India. It further mentioned that the relationship between the two countries have gone from bad to worse in the wake of recent antagonism expressed against some Pakistani inhabitants in Mumbai. Moreover, the havoc created by some Pakistani intruders at Pathankot (near the border of Pakistan) has compelled both the neighbouring nations to fall out with each other in recent times. Not one to get bogged down by such volatile developments, PCB chief and retired career diplomat Shahryar Khan had threatened to pull out of the forthcoming ICC World T20 late last year when he told ‘Express’ newspaper, ‘’If the Indian Board officially backs out of the series, then we have the option of boycotting all matches against them in ICC and ACC events’’. Unsurprisingly, the abandoned tour will induce the PCB to incur a loss of USD 85 million from its long-term broadcasting deal, which comes as a massive blow for a board which has been languishing under financial hardships for quite some time.
Despite ICC’s unceasing efforts to act as a mediator in this fiasco, it failed to wither away the mounting tension between the two camps. The ICC made a genial proposal by offering Sri Lanka as an alternative neutral venue in November last year but the BCCI resisted the suggestion arguing that the Indian Government objected to it even when the Pakistani Government was non reluctant to contemplate the proposition.
The cohorts of the two subcontinent giants will get to see their beloved teams lock horns with each other twice this year when the two arch rivals square off first in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh from February 24- March 6 and then in a Group B fixture of the ICC World T20 on March 19 at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association stadium in Dharamsala. The last time India took on Pakistan in a full-fledged Test series was nine years ago when India clinched the three match series 1-0 on home soil. Disappointingly for spectators, the hopes of witnessing another such epic contest have been put to rest for the time being..