India news December 9, 2015

No decision yet on India-Pakistan series

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The flip-flop saga

The bilateral series between India and Pakistan, scheduled to take place in December, remains in limbo even after a meeting between senior officials of both governments.

India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was in Islamabad and held talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday. But it is understood that cricket was not among the topics discussed.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, however, had been under the impression that resuming cricketing ties would be on the agenda, and the fact that it wasn't has put serious doubts in his mind over the series going though.

"We are already late, but this is something which is beyond our control," he said. "I am disappointed that cricket didn't make into the discussion but we are still unclear about the status of the series. I don't know what is going to happen but given the delay and silence I understand it's a no after all from them."

More doubts were cast when BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, who is also an MP with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said cricketing relations cannot resume until there is political stability between the two countries. These, however, were his personal views and he clarified that he would comply with whatever decision the Indian government or the BCCI took.

"If there is firing on the border, with your people getting killed, will you play cricket? Of course I'll say no," Thakur told NDTV. "Any Indian will say no to that. My personal view could be different, but I have to honour what the BCCI members have decided because I'm secretary.

"Former secretary of the BCCI signed an agreement with the PCB in April last year, where it is clearly mentioned, if certain resolutions are passed by the ICC, we will play you. We have to honour that now. But I can't force BJP's agenda or my individual agenda on the BCCI."

After a deadlock over who would host the series, the BCCI and PCB had petitioned their respective governments to allow the teams to play each other in Sri Lanka. Pakistan had given the nod, the series still awaits the Indian government's approval.

Even if headway is made and the series does go through, the PCB will have to race against time to make logistical arrangements given it is tentatively scheduled to begin on December 15. According to the MoU signed between the BCCI and the PCB, it is Pakistan's turn to host the series. The prevailing uncertainty leaves the Pakistan board with very little time, especially with the venue being Sri Lanka. The PCB, however, is determined to host the series.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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