Indian cricket chiefs on Monday said they had invited Pakistan for a series later this year, their 1st in 5 years, in a further sign of improving ties between the neighbours.
If approved by the two governments, the series would comprise 3 ODI and 2 Twenty20 games in December-January, the Board of Control for Cricket in India said.
It was decided to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan by inviting the Pakistan cricket team for a short series in December 2012-January 2013, the BCCI said in a statement. The modalities will be worked out soon. The rivals have not played a two-sided series since Pakistan's tour of India in 2007 after cricket ties were snap following the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, which were approved out by militants from Pakistan.
The ODI matches will be played in Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi and the Twenty20 games in Bangalore and Ahmadabad, BCCI spokes Rajiv Shukla told reporters in New Delhi. The series will be held when England, who are due to tour India later this year, return home for a short time for Christmas and New Year. The Pakistan Cricket Board swiftly welcomes the proposed series, which will now need approval from the Indian foreign relationships and home ministries.
PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf told local television channels that Pakistan was still waiting for a formal invitation, but said it seems it will certainly be held later this year. But previous India captain Sunil Gavaskar slam the decision to play cricket against Pakistan, saying Pakistan was still not cooperate in the Mumbai attacks probe.
Being a Mumbaikar, I feel what the importance is when there is no cooperation from the other side, the Press Trust of India news group quoted Gavaskar as saying. However, fellow former captain Bishan Bedi welcomed the revival. It is a step in the right direction, he told Tithe total of interest and goodwill it will make will be huge.
Cricket ties have been the subject of deliberations between the governments of both nuclear-armed countries, who have been holding regular meeting in a bid to improve ties and in time thrash out a peace agreement.
The countries have fought three wars since independence in 1947.
The Indian and Pakistani cricket teams have only met in multi-nation tournament since 2007.They clashed in the World Cup semi-final in the north Indian town of Mohali last year, a high-profile match that was attend by the prime ministers of the 2 countries. They also played during the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in March. Together matches were won by India.
An Indian government source told AFP the decision to resume cricket ties was made by the own boards and not the government. The issue of resuming cricketing ties came up in recent two-sided talks and it was left for the boards to resolve it, the source said. Once they have resolute, and then there would be the issue of internal security, which will be reviewed and decided by various agencies.
The BCCI in May had invited a Pakistani team to take part in the inter-club Champions League Twenty20 match, which the Indian board owns with the boards of Australia and South Africa.
Pakistan's champion Twenty20 side, Sialkot Stallions, will contribute in the tournament to be held in South Africa in October.