Pakistan news November 23, 2015

Sri Lanka frontrunner to host Ind-Pak series

Nagraj Gollapudi and Andrew Fernando

Play 03:05
Ugra: Seems neutral ground has been found

Sri Lanka is fast emerging as the likeliest venue to host a shortened bilateral series between Pakistan and India. Sri Lanka Cricket has been sounded out by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), and appear very keen to host the series.

Things have moved fast since BCCI president Shashank Manohar and PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan met at the ICC headquarters in Dubai on Sunday afternoon to break the deadlock over where the series should be held. The BCCI has made no comment as yet on the meeting, and Manohar left Dubai this morning to return to India.

Shaharyar left too, and was meant to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on Monday, to brief him on the discussions in Dubai. But the meeting could not take place as Sharif was busy. "I could not meet him as he was very occupied with various things, so I will communicate to him in writing all that transpired at the meeting," Khan said. He also pointed out that he would not be travelling back to Dubai on November 25, as originally planned, to meet ECB president Giles Clarke, who is acting as a mediator between PCB and BCCI.*

Shaharyar and Najam Sethi, PCB's head of executive committee, had come out of the Dubai meeting sounding optimistic, but they did not divulge any details. Those were supposed to be provided by Clarke at a media briefing today in Dubai but it is understood that will not happen. The ICC also confirmed there was no media conference scheduled.

The biggest hurdle to the series was the venue: the BCCI had made it clear that it would not play Pakistan anywhere else but in India. Rejecting that offer, the PCB responded by saying the memorandum of understanding signed by both countries in 2014 clearly stated India would travel to the UAE. Then, last Friday, Shaharyar added that the final decision would be taken by the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The UAE has not been dropped as a venue, officially speaking, but Manohar's opposition to play there remained. So holding the series in neutral ground like Sri Lanka was one of the proposals the PCB placed at the Dubai meeting. Also with South Africa's tour of India finishing on December 7 and India travelling to Australia for a limited-overs series from January 12, both boards decided to modify the original schedule. The best possible option was playing three ODIs and two T20Is. In the ICC FTP Pakistan are listed to host India for a full tour comprising two Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is.

According to an official privy to the details of the meeting, a final decision on the series would be made by November 27. He added that dates and stadiums haven't been chalked out yet but indicated the matches would be played towards the latter part of December to avoid washouts.

A Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) official said Khettarama and Pallekele were the likeliest venues to host the tour. It has rained almost daily in both Colombo and Kandy this month, but the weather is expected to clear towards the end of December. The northeast monsoon typically tapers off quicker in these cities than in Hambantota or Dambulla.

There is a potential clash since Khettarama is scheduled to host domestic T20 matches on December 23rd and 30th, but those games may be moved elsewhere. Pallekele's schedule is wide open in the window for the Pakistan-India series.

Since Pakistan would play the host, the series would be broadcast by Ten Sports. No official from Ten was available for comment. Although no definite plans have been made yet, the Sri Lankan official said SLC would expect significant compensation for the use of their stadiums.

With inputs from Umar Farooq

*12.30GMT, November 23: This article was updated.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anton on November 26, 2015, 21:09 GMT

    Apart from the weather , it would still be silly to play a series between India & Pakistan in Sri Lanka, as it would hardly arouse any interest among the local cricket fans. As usual we will have some groups of SL muslims turning up to support Pakistan, but then these are same groups of SL muslims who even support Pak when they are playing SL. Apart from that there will be zero interest. So play the series in the middle east or elsewhere where there is an Indo / Pak population but not SL.

  • Sidhant on November 25, 2015, 14:54 GMT

    @SAMROY your 2-2-2 formula is bad on all counts. Firstly, 2 matches in all formats induces a high possibility of series being tied. Start at 15 Dec is ridiculous;a. it result in a Test starting on a Tuesday which means it won't played through the weekend, b. its a week after a gruelling 4 test series against SA for India. If boards followed similar schedules, players would be even more burnt out, fans would feel unsatisfied with the contests and the results would have no context.

  • hussain on November 25, 2015, 12:41 GMT

    its a farce, this so called test series between India and Pakistan. If as we are led to believe that the an agreement was signed in 2014 by both boards and India had agreed to play in UAE, why the arrogance and demand the change of venue or play in India? Manohar was their at the time as the ICC head and he must have been a party to the discussions, so why the change? It seems that BCCI or Manoher telling PCB its our way or no way? and stupidly knowing the way the PCB is run and with the blessing of the the government they will accept BCCI's demand! I fail to understand why? are PCB so desperate to play India? and to play only ODI and T20 matches, both formats in which Pakistan are hopeless! PCB should turn around and tell BCCI, GO to Hell! We either play as agreed in 2014 in UAE or not at all.

  •   Heramb Gude on November 25, 2015, 12:14 GMT

    @IRFANGULLBHAT Am from Mumbai and have friends who are Kashmiri but are not inclined towards separation.It was a proud cricketing moment for Indians when Parvez Rasool became the first J & K cricketer to represent India in ODIs on their tour of Bangladesh last year.Want him and more such players to represent India in all forms of international cricket in future.Won't use this cricketing platform to make political comments or put forth my political views.

  • Nadefr5020842 on November 25, 2015, 6:58 GMT

    @Fightclub_99 I know it's a bit difficult, but perhaps try reading my response that proceeded that comment. I already rectified that error. It helps sometimes to read it in full. That way you don't make yourself look silly.

  • Mohamad on November 25, 2015, 6:34 GMT

    I don't understand that since dubai became Pakistan home ground and why Pakistan has to look for another home ground now just for India Pakistan series Pakistan will survive without paying any series

  • Irfan on November 25, 2015, 6:33 GMT

    @oncologist thank you very much for opening everybody's eyes and putting all disputes to rest with facts. Facts are facts and stay above all.

  • Irfan on November 25, 2015, 6:29 GMT

    @venkat I from srinagar, not muzzafarabad. Good news for India is, in modern kashmir politically, people are inclined to separation rather than to pakistan as contrary to the past , Good news for pakistan is that the stance on cricket has not changed among the people here.

  • S on November 25, 2015, 5:52 GMT

    @ICEDCOFFEE - Haha, if that Lord's wicket was a flat one, I wonder what a green track is. I hope you're only joking, because if you aren't, you have no idea what the difference between a greentop and flat track is. Thanks for the laugh - "The lords track was a flat one". GOLDEN.

  • sajid on November 25, 2015, 5:38 GMT

    this series should not happen as it is giving nothing to pakistan cricket but just a mare insult(m being modest) we have been ok not playing india for last 8 years and we will be ok not to play then next 8 years why does BCCI agrees and then take a step back??series happening in SL would not be a huge success as it is a home series for pakistan and if it is played in neutral venue then there is nothing pakistan to gain from it.

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