The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Najam Sethi, has insisted that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has not rejected to play Pakistan according to the Future Tours Programme (FTP) from 2019, but has neither approved as well.
As per the FTP, both rival nations are scheduled to play 19 games from a cycle starting in 2019 and ending in 2023. The political tension between both countries has disturbed the cricketing ties between the two boards as well, with the rivals playing a last full bilateral series back in 2007-08.
However, the two teams have been meeting in ICC tournaments, with the two meeting twice in the recently concluded Champions Trophy event in England.
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The International Cricket Council (ICC), in a meeting with all boards representative in Auckland earlier this month, agreed on a Test Championship and ODI leagues. However, there was a major question raised by PCB representative on the matches between India and Pakistan, as the BCCI still awaits government approval to play Pakistan in a bilateral series.
Nevertheless, the ICC officials convinced PCB that they will work out on a method which will have both the teams playing against each other, either inside the league or outside it.
On the other side of the picture, no comments have been made by any official of the BCCI on this matter, as Pakistan is desperate to play a bilateral series with India. Moreover, Najam Sethi also claimed that BCCIs representatives did not accept or reject the proposal to play Pakistan during the 4-year period of 2019-2023.
“The ICC floated an FTP for all Test playing nations for the period 2019-2023 including the Pakistan-India matches. The BCCI has neither approved nor rejected the proposed FTP,”Sethi revealed.
Sethi further clarified that his board demanded the ICC to include the same number of matches in the four-year cycle that were given in the MoU signed between the boards in 2014. However, he also insisted that he feels BCCI will convince the ICC to add government clearance in the clause.
“We are sure India will eventually want the ICC to include the clause of government clearance in the FTP for matches between the two countries. But at the Auckland meeting they neither approved nor rejected the proposed 19 matches,” Sethi concluded.