India, Pakistan cricket match in December unlikely: Daily

Islamabad, Nov 19 (IANS) The chances of Pakistan-India cricket match this December seem to be over, said a Pakistani daily which noted that at a time “when communalism is on the rise in India”, the Pakistani cricket team visiting the country carries an obvious threat.

An editorial “Playing India” in the News International said that any chances of Pakistan and India playing each other this December seem to be over.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) not to take any decision over a possible tour of India without the prior approval of the government.

Earlier this month, after consultations between the PCB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the latter had reportedly requested Pakistan to move their ‘home’ series from the UAE to India. The request was rejected by the PCB on grounds of safety.

Earlier in October, a meeting between the PCB and BCCI officials regarding the possible cricket series had been ransacked by Shiv Sena activists in what has been “a growing tide of anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim violence in India”, the editorial said.

The same month, Pakistani ex-cricketers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar and Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar chose to return from India over security concerns after the Shiv Sena issued threats against them taking part in any cricketing activity in the country.

The daily said: “Given the situation in India, the BCCI’s request of moving the series to India can at best be considered naïve; at worst it reeks of arrogance.”

Why it does not consider the UAE a suitable venue to play Pakistan is something only the BCCI would know, the editorial added.

Pakistan and India had signed an agreement to play six series – four hosted by Pakistan and two by India – last year.

“At a time when communalism is on the rise in India, the Pakistani cricket team visiting the country carries an obvious threat. The atmosphere in our neighboring country is not a welcome one and questions have already been raised over whether Pakistan would participate in the T20 World Cup next year – set to be hosted in India,” said the daily.

Pakistan has been unable to host top-level international cricket after the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009 due to security concerns.

“In the best of times, who would not want to see Pakistan and India – two great rivals in the game – face off in a cricket match? The BCCI’s reluctance to stick to the agreement to play in the UAE may not only have disappointed the fans of both countries, but also raised questions over the intentions of one of the most powerful cricket boards in the game,” the editorial added.

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