Cricketing fans across the world love watching India and Pakistan square off with each other
Arch-rivals India and Pakistan are gearing up to face each other in a series in December, which will break the five-year cricketing drought between the two nations.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have both agreed to play three ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals during the Christmas period.
The series will be hosted by India after the government gave the green light for the series to take place.
A statement released by the BCCI stated that further details of the series would be revealed soon.
“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 will be worked out shortly,” the statement said.
The ODIs are scheduled to be played in New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, while Bangalore and Ahmedabad will host the Twenty20 Internationals.
With the series being given the nod, India now have a packed schedule ahead of them, as England are due to play a Test series, which will finish before the Christmas period, but the English are due back in the new year for an ODI series as well.
India and Pakistan will face each other during the break period when England return home, and the short series will be over by the time the English return for their ODI series.
BCCI member Rajiv Shukla stated that the PCB has been continuously calling upon the BCCI to host a series between the two arch-rivals.
“We played after 1965 war and the 1971 war and even after Kargil. People also wanted cricket to be played. Our decision was taken after PCB appealed to us. They also spoke to BCCI president N Srinivasan. I spoke with the government as well,” Shukla said.
Even though many India and Pakistan fans across the world will be anxiously awaiting the series between Asia’s top two cricketing giants, not everyone is in the mood of celebrating, as former India captain Sunil Gavaskar does not see the point of playing Pakistan midway through a series against England, since he believes that India will just be tiring themselves out.
“As a Mumbaikar I feel what’s the need of playing cricket with Pakistan? What’s the urgency of playing cricket when there has been no co-operation from the other side? If you get away by doing a wrong thing once then you tend to do it again,” Gavaskar said.
The Maharashtra Congress has also called upon the BCCI to resume bilateral ties with the PCB, but warned the two cricketing boards to not mix cricket with politics.
The last time the two arch-rivals played against each other was a Test and ODI series in 2007.
After the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, the BCCI severed all bilateral ties with the PCB, and to make matters worse, the Indian squad was supposed to go to Pakistan for a tour in January 2009, but did not as many of the players feared for their safety.
Sri Lanka decided that they would take India’s place on the tour, but this ended up in disaster for the team, as they were attacked by gunmen on March 3, 2009, which effectively saw an end to international cricket in Pakistan.
Since that day Pakistan have not hosted a single international match, and even during the International Cricket Council (ICC) 50-over Cricket World Cup in 2011, all games that were scheduled to be played in Pakistan were moved to other venues in India, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.
The PCB have been doing all that they can to revive ties with the BCCI and bring international cricket back to Pakistan once again.
PCB chief Zaka Ashraf had made three offers to the BCCI, whereby India could tour Pakistan or the two teams could play at a neutral venue or Pakistan would host their ‘home’ series in India.
In the five years that India and Pakistan have not played a series, the two Asian cricketing giants have only met in multi-team series, including the Asia Cup and the famed semi-final of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, which saw India beat their arch-rivals.