Indo-Pak cricket series awaiting clearance from govt

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The government of India has not yet given the go-ahead for the proposed series against Pakistan in December-January. It may not be apt to say that the much-awaited tour is in jeopardy, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) needs a formal nod of approval from New Delhi to set the ball rolling.

Pakistan are scheduled to play two Twenty20 Internationals and three ODIs in Ahmedabad, Bangalore (T20), Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi (ODIs). The bilateral series, first since the 26/11 attacks in 2008, is being treated as a Friendship Series, particularly on the other side of the border. The dates and itinerary, too, have been finalised, though the announcement has been held back.

It is understood that a proposal from the BCCI has gone to the sports ministry which, as a measure of practice, routes it through the home ministry before giving the green signal to the hosting association. “We’re awaiting a reply from the government,” said a BCCI official without elaborating. The BCCI is not expected to follow it up day in, day out. “If it happens, it happens. The clearance will come whenever it has to,” said the official

On Thursday, Zaka Ashraf, president of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said he was waiting for a formal communication from his Indian counterparts, and one can now understand why there has been delay on the part of the BCCI.

In their recent meeting, on the sidelines of ICC conclave in Colombo recently, the BCCI has apparently promised to launch the series in a big way. The PCB is waiting for that formal launch.

“I’m not aware of the procedure in India, but I would not be worried if the delay from the BCCI is owing to lack of government clearance. The assurance for the series has come from the highest echelons of power in New Delhi and things started moving only after their involvement,” Ashraf told DNA. The PCB chief added there was a lot of anticipation in the Pakistan side about the series.

Tentatively, the series is expected to start in Bangalore with a Twenty20 match on December 25/26, followed by the second T20 fixture in Ahmedabad on December 27. The first ODI will be in the year-end in Chennai from where the teams move to Kolkata for the second ODI on January 3. Pakistan round up their whirlwind tour in New Delhi on January 6 or 7.

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