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India’s home ministry clears Pakistan tour

India’s home ministry has cleared a limited-overs tour by the Pakistan team, prompting the BCCI to say the tour “is on” at the end of the year. The clearance was given at a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday between ministry officials and senior representatives of the BCCI – including its chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and chief executive Sundar Raman.

“We have discussed all security aspects (and) the tour is on,” Shukla told reporters after the meeting.

The tour – which now needs only a formal announcement by the two boards to be official – will comprise three ODIs and two Twenty20s at Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. Pakistan are due to arrive on December 22 and Shukla said the tour would continue till January 7 but the detailed schedule is yet to be announced. However, there is little room for flexibility because the series is sandwiched between two legs of England’s tour of India.

It will be the first bilateral series between the two sides since Pakistan toured India in end-2007, though they have met in multinational tournaments. Cricket ties between the two countries were snapped following the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai by militants from Pakistan.

The decision to play the series came after prolonged consultations between officials of the two boards – BCCI president N Srinivasan and PCB chief Zaka Ashraf had held several discussions this year regarding resumption of ties – and, latterly, of the two governments.

It is Pakistan’s turn to host a bilateral series between the two. But there has been no international cricket in the country between Full Members since the March 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus and it is understood that India were not keen to play at a neutral venue, as has been the case with all Pakistan’s ‘home’ series since the attack. Subsequently, Ashraf said India had the prerogative to decide on the dates and host the series, but the PCB would want the BCCI to share revenue as they were apparently yet to recover from the financial loss suffered when India pulled out of their planned tour in 2009.

courtesy: cricinfo.com

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