PCB chairman Sethi confirms six Pakistan v India cricket series beginning December 2015

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman confirms to The National's Osman Samiuddin the six-series arrangement between Pakistan and India that will likely include matches in the UAE.
Virat Kohli, left, in a photo by Aijaz Rahi / AP. Ahmed Shehzad, right, in a photo by Punit Paranjpe / AFP
Virat Kohli, left, in a photo by Aijaz Rahi / AP. Ahmed Shehzad, right, in a photo by Punit Paranjpe / AFP

Pakistan and India have signed on to play six full bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, the first of which, at the end of next year, is likely to take place in the UAE. Last month The National reported that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had agreed in principle to play as many as six series after an International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Dubai in April.

Now the agreements have been formalised, said the PCB. “The BCCI has signed MoUs with several countries, including PCB for six series, covering the FTP [Future Tours Programme] from 2015-2023.” Najam Sethi, the PCB chairman, told The National.

Another official confirmed that the first of those series will take place in December 2015 and, according to the agreement, will be played in “the UAE or a mutually agreed venue.”

The development kickstarts stalled bilateral ties between the countries once again. Though the sides have played in ICC events, they have contested only one, short bilateral series since the end of 2007. Terror attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, which India blamed on Pakistan, led to a cooling in political ties, as well as sporting ones.

Four of the six series, Sethi said, are designated as Pakistan home series, which means, depending on the security situation inside Pakistan, the UAE could see as many as four series between the two rivals till 2023.

Ordinarily the number of series home and away would have been shared equally, but the PCB getting four is intended to make up for the two tour commitments to Pakistan the BCCI did not honour in the last cycle.

“Since no FTP was scheduled between India and Pakistan, the signing of the MoU with India is very significant,” Sethi said. “It signals India’s willingness to play Pakistan again on a long-term planned basis and also its willingness to atone for not playing two home series earlier in Pakistan.”

Other than the first series, the process of scheduling the rest will now begin and could, according to one PCB official, take 3-4 months. “There are conflicts at the moment in our tentative scheduling of these with other FTP commitments so it will take time to finalise the India dates,” the official said.

The FTP could take some time to settle yet. Boards are currently in the process of working out a new FTP but the modus operandi after the ICC revamp of the Big Three seems to have changed. Now, most members are first securing all their commitments with the BCCI over the next eight years before negotiating series and contests with each other.

Effectively, that means that until the BCCI has put in place its commitments over that period, much of the rest of the calendar for other commitments – and older ones made before the ICC revamp – might not materialise until after the end of June, when there is due to be a FTP scheduling conference.

The BCCI has not yet confirmed the development. Indeed, the PCB’s pre-empting of the confirmation of an agreement is partially an attempt to put pressure on the BCCI before results of India’s general elections are announced. The Pakistan board is concerned that a new political dispensation could pose further complications to ties between the two.

As it is, the MoUs have now to be turned into legally binding long-form agreements, which will specify dates and potential venues, as well as, significantly in this context, avenues for compensation should series be postponed or cancelled.

These agreements will now be translated into long-form legal documents.

Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 15, 2014 04:00 AM

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