Pakistan will 'not go to India' in 2017 - Sethi
Another series between India and Pakistan is in doubt after PCB executive committee chairman Najam Sethi has said Pakistan will "not go to India" in 2017, as the FTP currently states, until the BCCI "fulfill what they owe us". Sethi was referring to the scrapping of three series against India that Pakistan were supposed to host, the latest of which fell through in December 2015.
According to a Memorandum of Understanding both boards signed nearly two years ago, India and Pakistan were due to play each other in six series from 2015 to 2023. The PCB was to host the first of those, but the BCCI were unwilling to play in the UAE, Pakistan's adopted home since 2009. An agreement was brokered with Sri Lanka as a possible venue, but the BCCI could not get the Indian government's permission to play Pakistan.
"They will have to fulfill what they owe us this year or the next [before we can tour India]," Sethi told ESPNcricinfo. "They owe us four home series, and Pakistan gets to host the first one. It was supposed to happen in December but [it didn't]. Eventually, they have to fulfill their obligation before we will go there. They either have to play us in the UAE, or Sri Lanka or wherever we can mutually agree on. They have to keep their contractual obligation."
India had offered to host the series in December 2015 themselves, but the PCB had rejected the offer because there was no guarantee they would get any revenue from it. "They had snubbed us in 2009, and when we went to India to play a bilateral (limited-overs) series in return in 2012, they didn't share revenue," Sethi said. "Now according to the current MoU I made them sign, Pakistan get four home series, two for them and they agreed. Despite that, they have held our 2015 series and postponed it for next available window but this time they have to play before getting to host us in 2017."
The MoU Sethi referred to was signed in 2014 and had helped in securing Pakistan's support for the Big Three revamp. Six series were planned during an eight-year period, but the three that the PCB would host included only two Tests each and a single set of five ODIs. India, on the other hand, got three Tests on two occasions and 10 ODIs.
Recently, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had said there was no chance of an India-Pakistan series even in 2016, but Sethi was of the opinion that a gap of two weeks could be created by the end of the year. "Where there is a will a way. I don't see any reason why BCCI can't play this year. If both governments allow us to play then it not really hard to find a 10 to 15 days, but for this there should be a will."
The strain in political relations between the two countries has impacted cricket, but the 2015 series came undone at a time when the Indian foreign minister and Pakistan Prime Minister had committed to the revival of bilateral talks.
Pakistan touring India for the World T20 in March, however, is unlikely to be a problem. The PCB will write to the government for permission next month.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson