India has finally agreed to host a series of 3 ODIs and 2 Twenty20s against Pakistan in December- January 2012-13 to strengthen the bilateral cricket ties.
The cricket lovers of both neighbouring countries have been deprived of the thrilling game ever since the Mumbai terror attacks which took place in November 2008. There have been a lot of promises from the Indian counterparts to Pakistan for the resumption of the series and serious talks were held even between the prime ministers of both countries.
The ex-prime minister of Pakistan, Yousuf Raza Gilani was invited by his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh for the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2011 – 2nd semi final between Pakistan and India. He visited India and witnessed the match along with the Indian Prime minister, and both agreed on the resumption of cricketing ties between the two countries in the near future. The event took place on March 30, 2011, at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh, and the hosts won the match by a margin of 29 runs.
initially, the ice melted when the T20 champion team of Pakistan, Sialkot Stallions, was invited to take part in the Champions League T20. The BCCI president, N Srinivasan, revealed that he had no objection for a Pakistani team to take part in the prestigious tournament. He said,
“The CLT20 is owned by the BCCI, Cricket Australia, and Cricket South Africa, so we will recommend to the governing council that the BCCI has no objection and is prepared to invite a Pakistan team.”
Pakistan and India played the last full series consisting of five ODIs and three Tests in 2007-8 which were hosted by India. The hosts won the ODI series convincingly 3-2 and also clinched the Test series 1-0 by winning the first match at Delhi, on November 26, 2007 while the other two Tests at Kolkata and Bangalore ended in a draw.
There has been continuous consultation between the BCCI president, N Srinivasan and the PCB chairman, Zaka Ashraf during the current year for resumption of the much awaited cricket ties. India was considering that at the highest level and finally they found a slot during the series between India and England later this year.
The decision was approved by the BCCI after their working committee meeting which was held on Monday, July 16, 2012. The decision was reached by the board after taking in confidence the foreign ministry of India. A senior official of BCCI, Rajiv Shukla, disclosed the findings of the meeting by saying,
“This was the slot where the tour could have been accommodated and we did that accordingly. I have spoken to the home minister and he has said his ministry has no objection. The Ministry of External Affairs [India’s foreign ministry] has also agreed to this tour.”
Pakistan is still suffering after a visiting Sri Lankan team was attacked by the terrorists on March 3, 2009, in Lahore and no foreign team has toured their country so far. The Indian team was due to play a series in Pakistan but they cancelled their plans after the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan and India had played only in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Champions Trophy and Asia Cup 2012, after the above incident. Pakistan offered India to play home series at a neutral venue but the BCCI preferred to invite its counterparts to India. Rajiv Shukla further commented,
“The BCCI was firm that no India-Pakistan series will be held at a neutral venue so it was decided to invite them [Pakistan] after December 22 when the England team leaves after playing the Twenty20 Internationals.”
The decision of BCCI is being hailed by the PCB and cricket lovers in both countries which will pave the way for brighter cricketing ties between them.