India on Monday ruled out any cricket series against Pakistan until “cross-border terrorism” stops.
The Indian and Pakistani cricket boards are scheduled to meet in Dubai on Monday to discuss a possible bilateral series. And the two countries play each other at the Champions Trophy in England on June 4. But they have not played a bilateral series in India or Pakistan since 2012.
India’s sports minister Vijay Goel said: “India, Pakistan cannot play bilateral series till cross-border terror from Pakistan [stops]. Terror and sports cannot go hand in hand.” Goel was referring to India’s accusations against Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region. “BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] should first talk to the government before giving any proposal to Pakistan.”
While bilateral series remain frozen, their clashes on the international stage, such as at the Champions Trophy, create high anticipation. “We have no control on multi-national games and events,” Goel said.
According to a memorandum of understanding signed by the BCCI and its Pakistan counterpart the two sides have to play six series between 2015 and 2023. However, India did not tour Pakistan and even refused a neutral venue in 2015. The possibility of India hosting their neighbors this year also looks bleak with political tensions over Kashmir on the boil.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has threatened to take legal action against the BCCI if the memorandum is not honored, but it is still ready for dialogue. BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary has made it clear that India “remains committed to playing,” but the “series cannot go ahead without the permission of the Indian government.”