Indian government has denied permission for the country's cricket team to play a bilateral series with Pakistan later this year after Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wrote to the Home Ministry, seeking its nod.
Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Ahir, has told the Indian media that the government would not want the country to re-establish cricketing ties with Pakistan amidst the tense political situation between New Delhi and Islamabad.
"In the current circumstances cricket between India and Pakistan is not possible," Ahir told reporters, as quoted by The Indian Express.
Notably, Pakistan were to host India in 2016, according to International Cricket Council' Future Tour Programme (FTP) but the tour did not happen despite talks between the then BCCI president Shashank Manohar and Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shahryar Khan in Mumbai. The BCCI, in order to honour the FTP, had proposed a long tour, consisting three Tests, five One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals later this year.
While it was reported that Pakistan and India will play at the former's adopted home Dubai, a BCCI official has cleared the air saying that they were waiting to decide the venue only after getting the government's nod. Notably, Pakistan have not been playing international matches at home since the Sri Lankan cricket team were targeted by militants in Lore during their tour in 2009.
"If the government gives the green signal then the BCCI will decide where to play. If there is no approval from the government then we can invite other countries to play in that particular window. That is why the board had sent a letter to the ministry to clear their stand with regards to playing Pakistan," the BCCI official said, according to the news report.
India and Pakistan, despite meeting at ICC tournaments, have not featured in a bilateral series since 2012. After losing the first ODI in Chennai, MS Dhoni-led India won in Delhi and Kolkata to seal the three-match series 2-1 while the two-match T20I series that preceded the 50-over matches was shared 1-1.
Former Pakistan great slams BCCI
Reacting to news reports, that hinted the BCCI had requested permission from Indian government to stage a bilateral series, Pakistan great Javed Miandad accused India of "playing around" and said the top-ranked side are "least interested" in taking on the Men in Green on the cricket field.
"They just want to play around with us as always. They are least interested in playing us in a bilateral series. They make one excuse or the other. This latest sweet trap is perhaps to convince Pakistani officials to not bring up the issue of bilateral series with India at the ICC meeting next month," Miandad said.
Notably, India resume their international assignments following the 10th edition of Indian Premier League, starting 5 April, against Pakistan in the opening match of ICC Champions Trophy on 4 June in Edgbaston.