India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015
Pakistan's conditional support for the ICC revamp hinges on the promise of six series against India, including a 'home' series in the Middle East as part of an upcoming, reworked eight-year FTP cycle from 2015 to 2023, ESPNcricinfo has learnt.
The change in the PCB's stance has taken place on the condition that Pakistan would be involved in bilateral series against all Full Members, including India. If Indo-Pak series are officially slotted into the eight-year FTP, it could also involve a 'home' series for Pakistan against India in the United Arab Emirates.
The PCB is now waiting for a final confirmation from the BCCI following its Working Committee meeting, which the PCB have been informed, is expected to take place in the next 15 days. It will then enable the PCB to work out a long-term broadcasting deal with regular India series at its centre.
The PCB's opposition to the ICC's original position paper that recommended a remodeling of the ICC's administrative structure and its revenue distribution rested on the argument that it was against the principle of "equality." However, following certain changes in the resolutions, as well as the possibility of playing India frequently led PCB to support the governance, finance and FTP changes in the ICC, which was driven entirely by the BCCI, ECB and Cricket Australia.
ESPNcricinfo understands that all the nine member boards have confirmed their earlier commitments with PCB until 2020 and are chalking out a fresh plan for the period from 2020 to 2023.
The BCCI could look to slot in as many as six series against Pakistan, due to the gaps that are available in the existing FTP calendar. The first of these bilateral series could take place in the UAE in the winter of 2015. "Cricket between both countries is beneficial as the Pakistan government is also keen to revive ties with India on a high note," PCB chairman Najam Sethi said on Friday following the two-day ICC board meeting in Dubai.
India and Pakistan have not played a full series since the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, which India blamed on militants based across the border. However, Pakistan visited India for a short limited-over series in December 2012, but despite not getting any revenue out of the series, it was regarded as a stepping stone in reviving cricketing ties between both countries.
Since July 2013, Pakistan have been without a long-term broadcasting deal, one of the major sources of income for the PCB. The PCB already had to deal with a long-standing budget-deficit, which in August 2013, was calculated at nearly PKR 500 million. The PCB estimates that after committing to the ICC revamp, the financial benefits could reach PKR 30 billion from the bilateral ties, the major chunk of which will be earned from hosting India.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson