India-Pakistan matches not before next year, say officials
The Indian board has ruled out a resumption of bilateral matches with Pakistan in the near future and will take a call on the issue only late next year, a senior BCCI official said on Monday. The development, which is on expected lines, follows an informal discussion on the issue between Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, and Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, in Mohali, the venue of the fourth ODI between India and Australia.
BCCI officials have consistently maintained that a bilateral series between India and Pakistan - plans for which were shelved after last November's terrorist attacks in Mumbai - can resume only after governmental clearance. Manohar also told Butt it would not be possible to schedule a series in the next seven to eight months in any case because of India's packed schedule, according to Rajiv Shukla, a BCCI vice-president.
India's seven-match ODI series against Australia is followed by a full series against Sri Lanka, ODIs against South Africa and the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.
"There is simply no space (for a bilateral series)," Shukla said. "Conditions also have to be conducive between the two countries in terms of diplomatic relations."
Asked if they discussed the possibility of having bilateral series in neutral venues -- an idea mooted by India's deputy foreign minister Shashi Tharoor -- Shukla said, "Right now, the team is too busy for playing against any team. Playing at home, abroad or at neutral venues are issues that are premature to discuss right now."