KARACHI, Nov 23 (APP): Sri Lanka is fast emerging as the likeliest venue to host a shortened bilateral series between Pakistan and India.
Sri Lanka Cricket has been sounded out by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and appear very keen to host the series.”Things have moved fast since BCCI president Shashank Manohar and PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan met at the ICC headquarters in Dubai on Sunday afternoon to break the deadlock over where the series should be held.
The BCCI has made no comment as yet on the meeting, and Manohar
left Dubai this morning to return to India, leading cricket website
cricinfo.com reported on Monday.
It is understood that Shaharyar Khan will brief the Pakistan
government about Sunday’s meeting and then travel back to Dubai to
meet ECB president Giles Clarke, who is acting as a mediator between
PCB and BCCI on November 25.
Shaharyar and Najam Sethi, PCB’s head of executive committee,
came out of the meeting sounding optimistic, but they did not divulge
any details.
Those were supposed to be provided by Clarke at a media briefing
in Dubai but it is understood that would not happen. The ICC also
confirmed there was no media conference scheduled.
The biggest hurdle to the series was the venue: the BCCI had
made it clear that it would not play Pakistan anywhere else but in
Rejecting that offer, the PCB responded by saying the
memorandum of understanding signed by both countries in 2014 clearly
stated India would travel to the UAE. Then, last Friday, Shaharyar
added that the final decision would be taken by the government.
The UAE has not been dropped as a venue, officially speaking,
but Manohar’s opposition to play there remained. So holding the series
in neutral ground like Sri Lanka was one of the proposals the PCB
placed at the Dubai meeting.
Also with South Africa’s tour of India finishing on December 7
and India travelling to Australia for a limited-overs series from
January 12, both boards decided to modify the original schedule. The
best possible option was playing three ODIs and two T20Is. In the ICC
FTP Pakistan are listed to host India for a full tour comprising two
Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is.
“According to an official privy to the details of the meeting,
a final decision on the series would be made by November 27. He added
that dates and stadiums haven’t been chalked out yet but indicated the
matches would be played towards the latter part of December to avoid
washouts,” it said.
A Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) official said Khettarama and
Pallekele were the likeliest venues to host the tour. It has rained
almost daily in both Colombo and Kandy this month, but the weather is
expected to clear towards the end of December.
The northeast monsoon typically tapers off quicker in these
cities than in Hambantota or Dambulla.
There is a potential clash since Khettarama is scheduled to host
domestic T20 matches on December 23rd and 30th, but those games may be
moved elsewhere. Pallekele’s schedule is wide open in the window for
the Pakistan-India series.
Since Pakistan would play the host, the series would be
broadcast by Ten Sports. No official from Ten was available for
comment. Although no definite plans have been made yet, the Sri Lankan
official said SLC would expect significant compensation for the use of
their stadiums.