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May 30, 2017

PCB, BCCI fail to make progresson bilateral series


May 30, 2017

Indian government rejects possibility of reviving cricketing ties with Pakistan

KARACHI: Top cricket officials of Pakistan and India met in Dubai on Monday in a bid to revive bilateral ties even as the Indian government made it clear that it will not allow it to happen.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman said that officials of both sides had a meeting in Dubai but refused to share any more details.

“The delegations of the BCCI and PCB met in Dubai today and shared their stated positions. The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and its outcome will be shared with the members of their respective boards,” he said.

Well-placed sources told ‘The News’ that the BCCI delegation told PCB that they cannot confirm a series against Pakistan without government consent. They also made it clear that their government was not willing to give a go-ahead to any series against Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Indian government on Monday ruled out any cricket series against Pakistan until “cross-border terrorism” stops.

India’s sports minister Vijay Goel said: “India, Pakistan cannot play bilateral series till cross-border terror from Pakistan (stops).”

“Terror and sports cannot go hand in hand,” Goel told reporters in New Delhi, referring to India’s accusations against Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region.

“BCCI should first talk to the government before giving any proposal to Pakistan.”

While bilateral series remain frozen, their clashes on the international stage, such as at the Champions Trophy, create high anticipation.

“We have no control on multi-national games and events,” Goel said.

According to a memorandum of understanding signed by the BCCI and its Pakistan counterpart the two sides have to play six series between 2015 and 2023.

However India did not tour Pakistan and even refused a neutral venue in 2015. The possibility of India hosting their neighbours this year also looks bleak with political tensions over Kashmir on the boil.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has threatened to take legal action against the BCCI if the memorandum is not honoured, but it is still ready for dialogue.

BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary has made it clear that India “remains committed to playing”, but the “series cannot go ahead without the permission of the Indian government”

The deadlock on bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan continues after the meeting between the two boards in Dubai on Monday.

The two boards could meet - again, informally - in England during the Champions Trophy. It is understood that if these meetings cannot find a resolution, under the ICC dispute resolution procedures, there will have to be a formal meeting the ICC CEO’s in presence.

On Monday, the BCCI is known to have conveyed its earlier position: that it cannot play bilateral cricket with Pakistan without the clearance of the government, and that such a clearance was not forthcoming. The meeting was held after the PCB had sent a notice of dispute to the BCCI, claiming losses for the BCCI’s refusal to tour in 2015. After receiving the notice, the BCCI sought the government’s permission again, which it conveyed to the PCB. The PCB’s response then invoked a provision in the MoU for dialogue should a series not go ahead.

The said MoU to play six bilateral series from 2015 to 2023 was signed between the two boards in 2014. Although the BCCI indicated this MoU was “just a letter” and not a formal “contract”, it has responded to both the times the PCB has invoked dispute resolution.

The next meeting between the two boards could take place in Birmingham, where India play Pakistan in the Champions Trophy. They could also have a formal interaction during the next round of ICC meetings.

India continue to play Pakistan in multi-team events, as they did in Kolkata in the World T20 last year. India were supposed to play away against Pakistan in 2015, and are scheduled to host them in 2017.

In 2015, the BCCI had offered PCB a series at home, which the PCB declined. India in turn refused to play Pakistan’s home series at a neutral venue without specifying any reasons. “We are not asking any permission from the government,” the then BCCI president Shashank Manohar had told Cricinfo. “We are not playing in UAE. That is certain. There are reasons. But I don’t want another debate on that. So I will not tell you the reasons.”