ICC confirms no India-Pakistan tie in first cycle of World Test Championship

India and Pakistan will not play each other in the first cycle of the World Test Championship, with ICC CEO Dave Richardson stating that the bilateral relations between the two countries was out of the area of influence.

cricket Updated: Apr 26, 2018 21:11 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
India vs Pakistan,India national cricket team,Pakistan national cricket team
India and Pakistan will not play in the first cycle of the World Test Championship which begins in 2019 and the new Future Tours Programme (FTP), therefore, is unlikely to accommodate series between the countries(HT Photo/Samir Jana)

India and Pakistan will not play each other in the first cycle of the World Test Championship beginning in 2019, David Richardson, chief executive officer of the International Cricket Council (ICC), said.

“With the case of India and Pakistan, we have been a little bit pragmatic. It has been decided that they will not play each other in the first two-year cycle,” said Richardson, at a media conference after a series of ICC meetings that began here on Sunday and ended on Thursday.

The world Test league will comprise fthree-Test series, home and away with each team playing six teams, said Richardson. It has been decided that six series, three each home and away, for each team will comprise the competition, he said.

“It was difficult in the case of the Tests league in particular. While you have a situation of teams wanting to play five-Test series, trying to fit everyone playing everyone in a two-year period is not that easy. Consideration was given to extending it to three years but maintaining interest then becomes difficult,” said Richardson, explaining how the format was arrived at.

“The devil, as they say, lies in the details and there were fears as to which fixtures would comprise the competition. All those fears have been put to rest. The fixtures will be out soon,” he said.

Bilateral series between India and Pakistan have been put on hold because of relations between the countries; something that Richardson said was out of the area of influence of the ICC. His comment sounded similar to what Fifa president Gianni Infantino had said here last October after chairing a council meeting while commenting on the Israel-Palestine situation.

“Football cannot solve it. It is a situation of exceptional complexity and cannot be ignored, but it cannot be changed by a non-governmental body,” Infantino had said while explaining why Fifa decided against imposing sanctions on football associations of either country.

The new Future Tours Programme (FTP), therefore, is unlikely to accommodate series between the countries. Pakistan have taken the matter of not playing India, apart from ICC competitions, to the dispute resolution committee of the ICC claiming a breach in contract. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have claimed $70m in damages from India. It is something that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is contending.

“I think there is certainly a common desire…. it would be great if India and Pakistan play each other apart from ICC events and specifically in bilateral series but, unfortunately it is an issue that is beyond our area of influence. Even the BCCI, I am sure, cannot simply decide themselves whether a series should be played and similarly in Pakistan. So it is more complicated than that. We will not let up in our efforts but it is going to take a lot more than two boards agreeing,” said Richardson.

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 18:19 IST