Pakistan government clears India bilateral series
The bilateral series between Pakistan and India has got clearance from the Pakistan government, the PCB said in a release on Friday.* The series is likely to start on December 15, according to senior BCCI administrator and IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla.
"PCB has received a decision by the government of Pakistan, accepting the resumption of Pak-India cricket series in December 2015-January 2016 with Pakistan hosting it in Sri Lanka. Details of the proposed series will be announced later once the BCCI gives a go-ahead for it," the PCB's statement said.
Despite Sri Lanka being widely reported as the frontrunner to host the series, a fact already confirmed by BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan had indicated on Thursday that Bangladesh was in the mix too. He had said: "Both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have their pluses and minuses, but we are yet to make a final decision on venues. We know Sri Lanka's biggest minus is that it rains a lot and we don't want that we go there and return without playing the game. It will be one from those choices and there is no proposal from England as widely speculated."
Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Federal Minister of Inter Provincial Coordination, said that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had sought advice from his department before giving the approval. "We are all in for playing the sport with India to extend friendship at every level," Pirzada told ESPNcricinfo. "For us cricket should be played and I have advised the PM to allow them to play as this is the one way for the diplomacy. Cricket has been a tool for people-to-people contact. We have given them our advice and it now the prerogative of the PM to decide."
The series, which was finalised last weekend after a meeting between the heads of the BCCI and PCB, will be officially hosted by the PCB and is likely to comprise three ODIs and two T20s. "India-Pakistan series will happen tentatively from December 15 in Sri Lanka," Shukla told the ANI news agency on Friday.
No official confirmation could be obtained from the BCCI, with both president Shashank Manohar and board secretary Thakur not responding to calls.
On Wednesday both the BCCI and PCB had said that they were awaiting clearance from their governments in order to finalise the dates. Thakur had said that the BCCI had officially sought clearance from the Indian government via a letter he had written to the foreign ministry. Shukla's statement is a signal that the Indian government is on the verge of giving its approval.
*11.00GMT, November 27: This article has been updated.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson. Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo