The rivalry between India and Pakistan on the cricket field could resume this year
New Delhi: India and Pakistan could soon renew their fabled rivalry on the cricket field later this year if a report is to be believed. The bilateral cricket relations between the two neighbouring countries have been suspended since 2012-13 due to heightened diplomatic tensions.
According to a report in a Pakistan daily, the country’s national cricket board has been told to be ready for a bilateral series vs India later in 2021 with a possibility of the two rivals playing three T20Is during a six-day window. However, there’s no official confirmation from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
“We’ve been told to be prepared,” a PCB official was quoted as saying by Daily Jang. PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani though has rejected speculations that he’s in talks with the BCCI for a potential resumption of bilateral cricket relations between the two teams.
While one-on-one series between India and Pakistan remain suspended, the two teams do clash in global events organised by the ICC or in continental tournaments held under Asian Cricket Council. The last time these two locked horns was at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup when India won by 89 runs en route to the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, there were chances of India and Pakistan squaring off for the first time in two years but at the Asia Cup later this year. However, the window for the biennial tournament was clashing with the final of the ICC World Test Championship in June and with India having qualified for the summit clash, it would have been difficult for the first-choice stars to be available for the event.
Additionally, Pakistan Super League (PSL) which was halted midway through the season due to coronavirus outbreak among players and officials, might resume during the same period.
“It is not possible to hold the Asia Cup (in Sri Lanka) this year,” Mani told the daily. “There was a tiny window in June but we are playing Pakistan Super League’s remaining matches and also India are playing the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in that period. They have to do a two-week quarantine in England before playing the final. So, India too are busy.”
There was a possibility of India fielding a second string team but Mani said hosting such a high-profile event without top stars would affect the revenue. “The earnings through Asia Cup helps Associate nations so it is important that we hold the tournament with all the top sides,” he said.