India and Pakistan last met in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final    Getty Images
India and Pakistan last met in 2017 Champions Trophy final Getty Images

India and Pakistan‘s cricketing ties are limited to sporadic appearances in ICC events these days. Barring major tournaments, the sides last met in a bilateral series in 2012. Back then, India hosted Pakistan in 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs. The last full series was played in India in 2007. The reason for the occasional India-Pakistan encounters can be traced to numerous political reasons. India have already lost the right to organise the 2018 Under-19 Asia Cup due to their reluctance to host Pakistan. The cricketing ties between both sides have worsened in recent times. As a result, the senior team may also lose out on hosting Asia Cup in September 2018. Do I still need to dwell upon the reason?

BCCI official states…

“It’s not clear whether the Government of India will allow the Pakistan team to travel to India for the tournament. If not, then the BCCI needs to inform the Asian Cricket Council of the same so that an alternate host country can be finalised.

“If we didn’t get the permission to host the Pakistan’s Under-19 team from the centre, it looks highly unlikely that we’ll get to do so in case of their senior team. The Pakistan athletes were given visas to take part in the Asian Athletics Championships, but the government says that cricket’s case is a bit different, since it has an emotional connect with people from both the countries. When we approached the government with a request, we didn’t get any response from them, but we need to decide fast since we need to inform the ACC soon. There are logistical, amongst many issues, involved with hosting a tournament and a country needs time to sort them out.”

Author’s take

MS Dhoni had visited Kashmir a few days back. During his stay, he was asked about the resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties. “When it comes to India-Pakistan cricket, it is not just sports, but becomes much bigger than that. It is not a simple decision, but a diplomatic and a political decision. So, it is a big decision and I think we should leave it to the government to decide. If the government decides, we will go and play and if they decide against it, we will play some other series”, stated the former Indian skipper.

Dhoni’s reply was diplomatic, but summed up the situation. It is a matter not just confined to cricket, but involves governments of both the countries. It isn’t an easy decision, and is likely to get delayed further.

In the end, cricket is the real loser.