India-Pakistan series in December gets clearance
New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairshas cleared an India-Pakistan ODI and T20 cricket series, to be played during the Christmas week and over the New Year, when touring England return home for a break.
The series is likely to be played between December 25 and January 7 – three one day internationals and two T20 matches will be played at Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi and Kolkata.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India or BCCI had announced in July that, “It was decided to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan by inviting the Pakistan cricket team for a short series in December 2012 – January 2013.” The modalities would be worked out shortly, the BCCI had said in its statement then. Those modalities, primarily the security concerns and clearances required in cricket with Pakistan, were worked out today, senior BCCI official Rajiv Shukla said.
England, who are already in India, will finish playing four Test matches and will fly back for Christmas. They will then be back in the New Year to play ODIs and one T20 match. In that time, the Pakistan team will fly in and play India. For Team India, it will mean back to back games without a breather, but there is huge interest likely since India and Pakistan will resume cricket ties after five years.
The tour has been organised at the behest of the Pakistan Cricket Board, which has been seeking resumption of cricketing ties for some time now. The two countries last played a Test and ODI series in 2007. Then came the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 plunging bilateral ties between the two countries to an all-time low. Cricket suffered. India were scheduled to tour Pakistan in January 2009, but most players said they were reluctant to go.
Sri Lanka stepped in and agreed to tour Pakistan instead, but a terror attack on the visiting team in Lahore on March 3, 2009, saw an end to international cricket in Pakistan. Since then, no international team has toured Pakistan. Even World Cup 2011 matches scheduled to be played in Pakistan were shifted to other venues in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.