The last time that India and Pakistan played in a bilateral series was way back in 2007-08. A Shoaib Malik-led Pakistan side had gone down to India in both, the Tests and the ODIs, despite being competitive in all the games.
Then, one Pakistani domestic side, Sialkot Stallions were invited over for the inaugural edition of the Champions League T20 in 2008, but the terror attacks in Mumbai meant two things happened. On a smaller note, the Champions League T20 was postponed by a year, but more vitally, the Pakistan cricket team never played on Indian soil again.
That is, till they were left with no option but to travel to Mohali to play in the World Cup semi-final against India. More than the quality of cricket itself, it was the buzz that the game created off the field and especially in the political circles that caught the eye.
The Indian Prime Minister clapped in delight as the Indians steamrolled over the Pakistani batsmen, even as his Pakistani counterpart – invited from across the border to watch the game together – looked on in stoic silence.
The cooling of ties was inevitable in 2008 but it does look like the ice may be thawed at, if not completely broken. And with it, comes the announcement that the Indian cricket board would discuss the possibility of a bilateral series with Pakistan come 2012 in India. Remember, playing in Pakistan is still off-limits for most international teams because of the security situation in the country.
This comes despite the constant badgering of the BCCI at the hands of some of the current and former Pakistan board officials. Only recently, the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt had claimed that the BCCI had rejected their offer of playing the series in India but sharing the revenue equally.
To expect the home team to equally share the revenues with the visiting side is ludicrous at best. At worst, it speaks of how the PCB has continued to misread situations. The way things are, without any international tours to Pakistan, the only form of revenue for the PCB is through fine-collection from its players. Then, to expect their Indian counterparts to not only consider a bilateral series but also share the booty can barely be called anything else.
Only recently, former ICC chief and Pakistan’s Ehsan Mani had slammed the BCCI for having an anti-Pakistan agenda. His reason? India’s non-invitation to Pakistan for the Champions League T20. This, after the PCB chief Butt had earlier spoken out against the BCCI for one of the many reasons, thrashed them to smithereens before ending that interview with ‘We will never send our teams to play in the Champions League T20’. Some audacity then to criticise the BCCI for not sending out an invite!
Steering away from controversies, there cannot be any doubt that a series between the two teams will be a mouth-watering, lip-smacking and an appetite-inducing delight for a cricketing connoisseur. Especially after all the meaningless cricket that went by the name of IPL recently.