The much talked-about India-Pakistan cricket series could be played out in two parts with Sri Lanka hosting the limited-overs games next month and England being the venue for Test matches next year.
Speculation is rife that the arrangement has been agreed upon during a meeting of BCCI President Shashank Manohar and Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan in Dubai but a formal announcement is yet to come through.
“PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan has sought permission of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the foreign ministry to play a limited-overs series with India in Sri Lanka next month,” a source in the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination told PTI.
He said Shaharyar had also indicated that India was willing to also play some Tests against Pakistan next year.
“The plan is that Pakistan would tour India in 2017 for a full series while before that India will play us in two phases. Indications are that the Tests will be held in England in summer,” he said.
Pakistan is due to tour England for a full series from July onwards and in 2010 played two Tests against Australia at the Lord’s and Headingly with considerable success due to the large South Asian population in the United Kingdom.
Another source in the PCB said that the President of the England and Wales cricket board Giles Clarke, who acted as a mediator when Shashank Manohar and Shaharyar Khan met in Dubai at the weekend, had pitched the idea of having the Tests in England.
The source said Manohar had outlined the reasons for India being unwilling to play the December series in UAE and had also made it clear to the PCB chief to stop giving unnecessary statements in the media on Indo-Pak cricket.
“Manohar made it clear that cricket relations were also being affected because of confidential discussions between the two boards being made public in the media,” the source said.
He said both Manohar and Khan had agreed that they would not reveal any details about the planned future series between the two countries until they got clearances from their respective governments.
“That is one reason why Shaharyar has declined to give details of his meeting with the Indian board chief,” the source said.
The source also revealed that one reason for picking Sri Lanka and England as venues for Indo-Pak matches was to ensure the PCB earned maximum revenues from its broadcasting deals.
India and Pakistan have not played a test match since 2007.