Web Desk: The government of India agreed for the Pakistan – India cricket series as the formal announcement is expected on Tuesday.
One of the most anticipated cricketing events of 2015 — a bilateral series between Pakistan and India — is finally set to become a reality.
Both boards have kept their cards close to their chest on the issue thus far but The Express Tribune has learnt that an affirmative decision has been made by both sides, with Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi both agreeing to the series.
Several ‘soft’ interviews have been given in recent days in order to rein in the increased tension and escalating animosity between the two countries. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is especially vulnerable to an attack from activists similar to when the Shiv Sena recently stormed the BCCI headquarters before expected talks between the two nations.
Along with the announcement of the bilateral series, which will be held in Sri Lanka, will come the confirmation that Pakistan will participate in next year’s World Twenty20 in India.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj was scheduled to arrive in Islamabad early Tuesday to attend a conference on Afghanistan, and is expected to meet Nawaz and Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
“The Pakistan-India series is set to take place after an exchange between Nawaz and Modi, with a formal announcement to be made either on Tuesday evening or on Wednesday,” revealed a high level government official close of the development. “As planned, the short series will be played in Sri Lanka, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been told that it is as good as done; with only a formal declaration remaining.”
PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan, while addressing the media in Lahore, however said no final decision has been made yet and the board is still waiting to hear back from the Indian government.
“We expect to hear from the Indian government by Tuesday or Wednesday regarding their decision on the bilateral series,” said Shaharyar. “If the series does take place, then there will be big interest from everywhere and people will face visa issues. However, the PCB and Pakistan government will request the Sri Lankan government to iron out these issues.”
The board also praised the islanders for their role. “We want to thank the Sri Lankan government for the way they welcomed the initiative of a Pakistan-India series in their country, while England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke and the International Cricket Council also played important roles.”
The PCB chief hoped that the arrival of India’s foreign minister would have a positive impact on the fate of the series, adding that if the series does take place, the board would try to make arrangements as quickly as possible.
“It would be tough to make the necessary arrangements in such a short time but we’ll try to sort out the logistics, while I’ve already received the name of the players selected for the series from the selection committee,” he said.