The BJP-led government in Indian has signaled to the country’s cricket board that it is not in favor of a Pakistan-India cricket series even at a neutral venue like Sri Lanka, Indian media reported on Friday.
“The government has given us an indication that public sentiment at the moment is against Pakistan,” the Hindustan Times quoted a top BCCI official as saying.
“There are only a few days left for the proposed series to start (in the latter half of December). If the government wanted us to play, we would have got clearance a long time ago. So, I don’t think this series is happening.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Indian external affairs ministry said the government had yet to take a decision, while BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur confirmed by saying the board had not received any official word from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government.
On Thursday, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shahryar Khan urged Indian authorities to come to a decision regarding playing Pakistan’s home series at the earliest as there was not much time left for preparations.
He said that India should inform Pakistan soon whether they want to play the series or not. “Very few days are left to prepare for the series if it happens…They should inform us about whatever their decision would be,” he said.
The cricket boards of the two neighbouring countries have been in a deadlock for months over the series. India had refused to play in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan’s home away from home, and Pakistan rejected the prospect of playing the series in India.
Giles Clarke, who heads International Cricket Council’s Pakistan Task Force, organised a meeting between Khan and BCCI president Shashank Manohar last week in Dubai, where Sri Lanka was chosen as the possible venue, pending clearance from the Indian government.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already given the PCB clearance for a shortened series at the neutral venue of Sri Lanka.
If both sides agree to play in Sri Lanka, the series will mark the resumption of bilateral cricketing ties between the two nations. Pakistan and India have not played a bilateral series since 2007.
Cricketing ties were stalled between the two countries following the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. (The News)