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Deadlock on Indo-Pak series persists despite fruitful talks

Deadlock on Indo-Pak series persists despite fruitful talks

DUBAI: The deadlock over a proposed series between arch-rivals India and Pakistan continued despite a meeting between the heads of the two boards in Dubai on Sunday, described as ‘fruitful’ but without a breakthrough.

The newly-elected president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Shashank Manohar, who is in Dubai to familiarise with the working of the International Cricket Council (ICC), invited Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan for a meeting at the ICC headquarters.

The meeting was also attended by PCB Executive Committee head Najam Sethi and Giles Clarke, the president of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Shaharyar said the meeting with Manohar had been ‘fruitful’.

“We had a fruitful meeting in which Sethi was there, Clarke was there as facilitator, it was a fruitful meeting and the decision is that Clarke will brief the media tomorrow,” the PCB chief told media. “We have also decided that there will be no further briefing. I am not in a position to say more than this.”

Earlier in the day, Manohar told The National newspaper that India have not received a reply from the PCB on a proposal to play the matches in India.

“We want to play in India. That is the thing,” Manohar said. “Presently, we gave an option to Pakistan asking them whether they will come to India. Pakistan was to get back to me, they haven’t got back to me. So I don’t know what is the position.”

Shaharyar maintained his team will not travel to India and would play the series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as agreed under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed last year.

Shaharyar said a final decision on the series will only be taken by the Pakistan government.

“The matter is now political,” the PCB chief said on Friday. “Our Prime Minister [Nawaz Sharif] has directed us that any decision will now be taken by the government and not by the PCB.”

Pakistan and India have not played a bilateral series since 2007.

India stalled cricketing ties in the aftermath of 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, which were blamed on militants based in Pakistan.

Under the MoU both the boards had agreed to play six series between 2015 and 2023, with four series to be hosted by Pakistan.

But all series were subject to clearance from the respective governments.

The December-January series comprises two Tests, five One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals but with time running out the series could be shortened to limited over matches.

There are reports that another neutral venue – Sri Lanka or Bangladesh – could also be considered, if India continued to refuse UAE as a venue.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2015

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