England and Wales Cricket Board has informally offered to be the host if India and Pakistan agree to play a bilateral Test series. However, BCCI ruled out the chances of the series and said that the chances of that happening in near future is “next to nil”.
The UK daily ‘Telegraph’ reported that “Martin Darlow, the deputy chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has held talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board during the current Twenty20 series and offered England’s grounds as venues for ideally a three-match Test series in future.”
While this not only brings India and Pakistan teams together but this will also provide enough gains for the England Board. However, their efforts went in vain as BCCI laughed off the suggestions.
“Firstly, ECB spoke to PCB about an Indo-Pak series and that’s a bit weird. In any case, a series against Pakistan is not something that the BCCI will decide but it is the decision of the government.
As of now, the stance remains the same. We only play Pakistan at multi-team events,” a senior BCCI official privy to India’s position told PTI on Tuesday.
Due to tense political relations between the neighbours, India and Pakistan never play in the bilateral series. Their last bilateral series came in 2012 and their last Test series dates back to 2007.
The newspaper states precisely the reason why ECB made the “generous offer”.
“The matches would attract big crowds in the UK, which has a large ex-pat south Asian population,” it said.
“The matches attract huge sponsorship revenue and television audiences.” However, the paper made it clear that even “PCB is not keen on playing India at neutral venue but are grateful for the ECB’s offer, which shows the growing relationship between the two boards.” It stated that with the big nations again starting to tour Pakistan, it will be a “retrograde step in their eyes” if they happen to play in a neutral venue.