Cricket fans may have to wait a while longer for India and Pakistan to resume their famed rivalry. The NDA government is believed to have signaled to the cricket board that it is not in favor of playing with the neighbour as of now, even in a neutral venue like Sri Lanka.
“The government has given us an indication that public sentiment at the moment is against Pakistan, which is involved in anti-India activities. Also, there are only a few days left for the proposed series to start (in the latter half of December). If the government wanted us to play, we would have got clearance a long time ago. So, I don’t think this series is happening,” a top official at the Board of Control for Cricket in India told HT on Thursday.
An external affairs ministry spokesperson, when asked about the request pending with the ministry, said, “We are yet to take a decision.” The BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur echoed this, saying the board had not received any official word from the government.
The government is also believed to have disapproved of the public statements made by some BCCI officials.
Board sources said IPL chief and Congress MP Rajeev Shukla’s remarks, that sports and politics should not be mixed, did not go down well with the Centre.
Government sources said “a view” on whether the time had come to de-link cricketing ties with Pakistan and the political situation was being discussed within the government and no final decision had been taken.
The BCCI had sought the government’s permission for a short ODI and T20 series against Pakistan in Sri Lanka sometime after December 15 — a week after its ongoing series against South Africa and before it travels to Australia in January.
The Lanka tie had seemed a certainty with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif giving it the nod on November 26.
It was to be played as part of an MoU agreement between the two boards to hold six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023. After several rounds of discussion and various venue possibilities, Sri Lanka had emerged the choice while there has also been talk of a Test series in England sometime next year.