It looks like the Government has put its foot down. In an exclusive to Republic TV, the Home Ministry, a day after 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed was released in the Lahore High Court, on Thursday has said that Pakistan will not be playing in India.
India was all set to host the Asia Cup in 2018, where in Pakistan was scheduled to play in India, but clearly the Central government has taken a strong stand denying permission for Pakistan to play in India.
India and Pakistan last played in a bilateral series in 2008 and while the BCCI has categorically refused to play Pakistan one-on-one, the PCB had filed for compensation with the ICC against its India counterpart for not honouring the MoU in 2014.
Although India and Pakistan have met each other in world tournaments, it looks like it’s highly unlikely that Pakistan will face India in a bilateral series, any time soon and now with the Home Ministry giving clear cut directives, the Asia Cup might soon be on its way out of India.
Earlier, With less than a year to go in the 2018 Asia Cup, the Chief Executives of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) have set up a meeting in Singapore on November 18 to finalise the format, teams and schedule for the event to get more clarity over the venue.
Technically, it is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which is supposed to host the tournament but the board is not sure if it will get the go-ahead from the Government of India, considering Pakistan is also supposed to be a part of the mega event. (India vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test – LIVE)
“We’re getting ready for it and the rest is up to the Government,” a BCCI official was quoted saying by Mumbai Mirror without revealing much details ahead of the meeting.
It has been learnt that the BCCI has already written to the home ministry seeking permission to host the event but is yet to receive any response. The attempts to get direct information from the government have been unsuccessful as no government official or even the sports ministry is ready to talk about a possible solution to the current dilemma.
The permission to host the tournament with Pakistan’s inclusion seems even more difficult considering the timing. Asia Cup is supposed to take place in the month of September next year which isn’t too far from the general elections.
With the government’s hard stand on the subject of Pakistan, it is highly unlikely that they will give the neighbouring country’s inclusion a go ahead with the elections right next.
The meeting in Singapore is supposed to have talks over the alternative plans for the tournament which is expected to be held in 50-50 format. The last edition of the tournament, which was held in Bangladesh, was a Twenty20 tournament.
The ACC also has to conduct a qualifier tournament to identify the sixth team which will take part alongside India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who got automatic entry into the event after they recently became full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
It has also been learnt that the Independence Cup featuring India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will take place in March next year in the T20 format.
The tentative dates for the tournament are from March 3to 27, with a total of seven games to take place.
The Indian cricket team, led by Virat Kohli are up for their first Test against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata today. There will be three Test matches in total, followed by 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is before the hosts depart for South Africa.