NEW DELHI: The Indian Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Ahir, has responded to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) letter seeking permission for cricket series with Pakistan at a neutral venue, saying that cricket ties with the neighbouring country are not likely to resume any time soon.
According to Indian media, Ahir told reporters outside the Parliament that, “in the current circumstances cricket between India and Pakistan is not possible”. The Indian board has to complete their obligations under the Future Tours & Programme (FTP) agreement which was inked in 2014. As per FTP agreements, November was reserved for an India-Pakistan series.
“It’s procedure which the board has to follow. If we want to play Pakistan we can’t get up one day and say, we will be playing them. We need the government’s clearance way in advance so that we can plan it out,” informed a BCCI official quoted by the Indian Express.
The FTP agreements clearly state that all fixtures between the two countries are subject to clearances from the respective governments. The BCCI official added that if the government doesn’t give permissions then at least they could convey to the Pakistan Cricket Board that they had tried fulfilling the FTP agreement but the board’s hands were tied until the government gave the go-ahead.
When asked about the BCCI considering Dubai as a venue, a BCCI official said. “If the government gives the green signal then the BCCI will decide where to play. If there is no approval from the government then we can invite other countries to play in that particular window. That is why the board had sent a letter to the ministry to clear their stand with regards to playing Pakistan.”
Pakistan’s former captain Rashid Latif said the PCB should take the Indian board seriously only when it confirms in writing that it has received clearance from its government. “Until then the PCB should pursue its case in the ICC and use all legal means to get compensation from India for the number of times they have refused to play us at neutral venues,” Latif said.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan, however, in a media report said on Wednesday that the Indian cricket board has so far not contacted the PCB over the holding any bilateral series.
He called the BCCI move good omen for cricket adding that “the PCB will also seek permission from the government of Pakistan, if the Indian government grants permission to the Indian cricket board.”