At a time when tension is simmering between India and Pakistan over the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is dreaming of playing with India.
As Pakistan raised the Kashmir issue at the United Nations on Tuesday, the same day PCB chief Shaharyar Khan made a presentation before the MCC’s world cricket committee in London. He said lack of cricketing ties with India had caused financial difficulties for the PCB.
Shaharyar explained that Pakistan were having to play home matches at neutral venues where costs were high and its grassroots programme was facing budget constraints.
No Test-playing country has travelled to Pakistan since 2009 after the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists.
Since then, the PCB has been facing a financial crisis and playing with India is the only way out to emerge from the situation.
The PCB had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the BCCI to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023. It claimed the BCCI had agreed to play the first series in UAE in December 2015.
But the Indian government refused permission to the team to play in UAE. Following this, the BCCI sought permission for a short series with Pakistan in Sri Lanka. That initiative also failed because of the political ties between the countries.
It is reported that the PCB had to face a loss of around $70 million due to the BCCI’s refusal to play in UAE.
Buoyed by the MoU with the BCCI, the PCB had inked a four-year lucrative broadcasting deal worth $145 million. If India doesn’t play Pakistan in the next two years, the PCB will lose nearly 65 per cent (around $85 million) of the total amount.
Of the six, Pakistan was to host four series. As per the agreement, India and Pakistan are to play 14 Tests, 30 ODIs and 12 T20s.
The two countries last played a full series in 2007. But since the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, cricketing ties have been suspended. However, Pakistan visited India for a short limited-overs series in December 2012.