The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) senior functionary Rajeev Shukla said on Thursday that the high-octane India vs Pakistan series may begin on December 15 in Sri Lanka if the ministry of external affairs clears the series.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave the go-ahead to the series, which will have one-dayers and T20s, at the neutral venue, paving the way for full fledged preparations.
Taking a cue from Sharif, Shukla said: “India-Pakistan series will happen tentatively from December 15 in Sri Lanka.”
“I am optimistic that the government will give the go-ahead to us. Both the parties have agreed for Sri Lanka as a venue. The whole idea is to resume cricket between the two countries,” Shukla, who is the Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman, said.
According to a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Sharif gave his approval for the India series only after Sri Lanka was finalised as the venue for the fixtures.
“The Pakistan government never had a problem with the series going ahead. It only had reservations about the team travelling to India amid the prevailing tensions,” the source said.
Pakistan and India’s cricket boards have been deadlocked for months on a venue for the series. India had refused to play in the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan rejected the Indian board’s proposal to play the series in India.
Giles Clarke, who heads International Cricket Council’s Pakistan Task Force, organised a meeting in Dubai between the heads of two cricket boards last week where Sri Lanka was chosen as the venue.
Pakistan and India have not played a bilateral series since 2007.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding both the boards had agreed in 2014, six series were scheduled between 2015 and 2023, with four series to be hosted by Pakistan.
But all series were subject to clearance from the respective governments.
The December-January series comprises two Tests, five One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals but with time running out the series is likely to be shortened to limited over matches.
A meeting between the newly-elected BCCI president Shashank Manohar and the PCB’s Shaharyar Khan was held in Dubai earlier this week to break the deadlock on the holding of a bilateral cricket series between the two sides.
Both and India and Pakistan voiced reluctance at playing the series at each other’s home.