The fate of the planned series between Pakistan and India appears to have taken a turn for the worst after Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan revealed that India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj did not discuss the resumption of cricketing ties with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on her visit to the country.
PCB was hoping Swaraj, who arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday for the Heart of Asia regional conference, would finally give Pakistan a definitive answer on the series after months of foot-dragging by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which left the matter squarely in the hands of the India government.
“We were hoping for some positive development finally but it is very disappointing that cricket was not discussed in the meeting between the Indian Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” a dismayed Khan said on Wednesday.
“The prospects of organising a series now seem very bleak and we stand to lose at least $50 million under the current scenario,” he added.
The series, agreed between the two boards in a memorandum of understanding signed last year, was originally scheduled to pit the two teams in three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, but ran into trouble amid strained political relations.
On Monday, the PCB said it was awaiting the Indian government’s approval of a shortened limited-over series — three one-day and two T20 internationals to be held in Sri Lanka — which it agreed with the BCCI last month.
The PCB chairman, who had given the BCCI a December 7 deadline to decide on the series, said: “We have been informally told that Swaraj will talk on cricket and decide the fate of the series.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi met on the sidelines of a climate change conference in Paris last week as the two countries seek a thaw in relations.
Making arrangements for the series — which could run from December 17-January 3 — would be “challenging” at such short notice, Khan said, “but we will do it once we get clearance from the Indian government.”