India-Pakistan Bilateral Cricket In Australia?

India-Pakistan Bilateral Cricket In Australia?

India has a five-match Test series, commencing on December 22 in Perth, while Pakistan's cricketing contingent has a three-match ODI and T20I series against the Australians.

Joe WilliamsUpdated: Thursday, March 28, 2024, 10:28 AM IST
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Cricket Australia (CA) wants to push its luck in hosting a bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan which hasn't happened since the 2012-2013 series, which Pakistan won 2-1. According to the Future Tours Programme, India won't be playing Pakistan in any bilateral series in the 2023-2027 cycle.

Yet, CA senses an opportunity here when in the forthcoming season, both the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams will be in Australia for their respective series scheduled for November and December. India has a five-match Test series, commencing on December 22 in Perth, while Pakistan's cricketing contingent has a three-match ODI and T20I series against the Australians.

People want to see the contest: Nick Hockley

Nick Hockley, the CEO of Cricket Australia (CA), articulated his enthusiasm for the prospect of hosting the India-Pakistan bilateral series at the MCG, should the opportunity arise. In the 2022 T20 World Cup clash between the two teams at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), a staggering crowd of 90,293 spectators witnessed an electrifying last-ball thriller, featuring an unforgettable innings by Virat Kohli, who etched his name in cricketing folklore with an iconic knock of 82* runs. In the light of this, Cricket Australia (CA), along with the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG operators) and the Victorian government, have expressed keen interest in hosting future encounters between the two cricketing powerhouses recognising the significant financial potential it holds.

Hockley was quoted in the Australian media as saying, "I think anyone that was here for the India-Pakistan game at the MCG, it will go down as one of the most memorable occasions, not just sporting occasions, that I've ever been to. So people want to see that contest.We would love to host that if the opportunity arose. If we can play a role, we’d love to play a role. How much of that is wishful thinking is still a matter of speculation but the challenge is formidable, considering that the easier part is to finesse the already overcrowded cricket calendar. The tougher part is to get the BCCI to manoeuvre the Government of India to agree. Once the elections are out of the way, there is the theoretical chance that Delhi might soften its stance on the issue and extend an olive branch in the form of cricket diplomacy. But would it take place in Australia? That is more than a million dollar question.

CA's head of scheduling, Peter Roach, acknowledged Australia's interest in not just a neutral bilateral series but also the possibility of a tri-series, reminiscent of the memorable encounters witnessed during the 1999-2000 season. Despite expressing the desire to explore such opportunities to engage cricket enthusiasts, Roach noted the constraints posed by the current Future Tours Programme (FTP). Some part of the spirit is willing, however. The Pakistan Cricket Board Chair Najam Sethi is open to the idea reportedly. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that if that were to happen, Australia would be a contender to host a series - "if they can get a full house."

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