New Delhi: It was a letter of April 2014 sent by the then BCCI President N Srinivasan to Pakistan Cricket Board which bound India to a commitment to play Pakistan this month, leading to the present dilemma in the establishment here.
The BCCI had given the commitment to play two Test matches, five ODIs and two Twenty20s with Pakistan at “UAE or mutually-agreed venue” in December 2015, according to the letter in possession of PTI.
The commitment by BCCI in its April 9 letter was given in the context of resolutions placed at the ICC Executive Board meeting on February 8, 2014 relating to “a new financial model and governance structure for the ICC”.
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The reference to the new “governance structure for the ICC” was seen to include Srinivasan’s bid for the world sporting body’s Chairmanship for which he needed support from the Asian bloc, including PCB.
“Further to our meetings and discussions over the past few weeks regarding the bi-lateral tours between India and Pakistan, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hereby agree that the senior men’s cricket teams of India and Pakistan will play each other as per the schedule…,” said the letter from Sanjay Patel, the then BCCI Secretary to Najam Sethi, the then Chairman of the PCB and now a senior functionary of that board. The BCCI had also said then that it will make “all efforts to engage in a limited-overs format short tour to Pakistan in November 2014 based on the availability of possible dates”.
This commitment has created the dilemma for the BCCI as well the Narendra Modi government right now.
For BCCI, non-fulfillment of the commitment could lead to adverse legal ramifications as Future Tours and Programmes (FTP) is binding on both the nations. The dilemma for the government on allowing the series is because of the chill in India-Pakistan relations.
To seek a view from the government, BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur has written to Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. The government is weighing all options before taking a decision. Significantly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to travel to Pakistan next week for an international conference on Afghanistan, a trip that is seen with much expectation as far as breaking the ice in the bilateral ties is concerned.