MUMBAI: If there is one face-off in the sport of cricket that is more anticipated and watched than the Ashes, it has to be India taking on arch rivals Pakistan.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed interest in rekindling its relationship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to play at least six home and away test series between the boards in the next eight-year FTP cycle between 2015 and 2023, which will also include an “off-shore” home series in the United Arab Emirates.
According to a few media reports, the PCB awaits a final confirmation from the BCCI following its working committee meeting that is expected to take place in the next 15 days. It will then enable the PCB to work out a long-term broadcasting deal with regular India series at its centre.
Earlier PCB chairman Najam Sethi had made it clear that Pakistan’s conditional support for the ICC revamp depends on the promise of said number of series against India. The change in the PCB’s stance has taken place on the condition that Pakistan would be involved in bilateral series against all Full Members, including India.
It is learnt that all the nine member boards have confirmed their earlier commitments with PCB until 2020 and are chalking out a fresh plan for the period from 2020 to 2023.
The BCCI could look to slot in as many as six series against Pakistan, due to the gaps that are available in the existing FTP calendar. The first of these bilateral series could take place in the UAE in the winter of 2015.
India and Pakistan have not played a full series since the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. Pakistan visited India for a short limited-over series in December 2012 which included three ODIs and two T20 Internationals. The PCB estimates that after committing to the ICC revamp, the financial benefits could reach PKR 30 billion from the bilateral ties, the major chunk of which will be earned from hosting India.