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July 6, 2011
The India-Pakistan series scheduled for 2012 in the new Future Tours Programme (FTP) faces an uncertain future with the PCB awaiting word from the BCCI on whether the Indian government will grant clearance for the tour. The PCB is not even clear at the moment about which country will host the series, though the FTP says that Pakistan are scheduled to tour India for three Tests and five ODIs in March-April 2012.
"In fact, we have to play four series against India in the FTP, spread from 2012 to 2020, but there is a question mark over the 2012 series as to who will host it," PCB chief-operating officer Subhan Ahmed told the Dawn. "Pakistan toured India in 2007 and they had to visit Pakistan in 2009, but they skipped the tour. Pakistan have to play as hosts in 2012 according to the reciprocal turn."
Ahmed said the PCB had discussed the future of the 2012 series at the recent ICC annual conference with the BCCI, which said that it would reply after getting clearance from the Indian government. "As soon as they get clearance we will resume talks to decide the number of matches and the venues," Ahmed said.
There has been no international cricket in Pakistan after the attacks on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009, forcing the PCB to 'host' teams at neutral venues like the UAE. Ahmed said that the board was willing to continue the same policy with India as well. "We are already playing our home series at neutral venues due to security concerns of other teams. And we feel no problem in hosting India too at any neutral venue."
There have been no tours between the neighbours since Pakistan's visit in 2007, as relations broke down in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. This has also led to Pakistan being the only major Test nation without representation in the Champions League Twenty20 [which is organised by the Indian, South African and Australian boards], something that has not impressed the PCB.
Ahmed said that such matters were down to the current state of political relations between the nations. "Once the two countries come on track to restore bilateral series, these smaller issues will be solved automatically. Once the ties revive, we're confident we'll be included in the Champions League."
Sohail Tanvir, captain of Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 winners Rawalpindi Rams, shared Ahmed's view. "The matter of our qualification for the next edition of the Champions League T20 is dependent on the relations of the two countries and their cricket boards," Tanvir told the News. "As players we can only perform on the field and the rest is up to the government and the PCB."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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