"No cricket with Pakistan until it stops cross-border terror," says Sushma Swaraj
Sushma Swaraj crushed the possibility of a bilateral series between the two nations anytime soon
What's the story?
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday ruled out a bilateral cricket contest between India and Pakistan. According to her, "the cricket series is unlikely till Pakistan stops terrorism."
In a meeting with Parliament’s consultative committee that deals with external affairs on Thursday, she held Pakistan responsible "for violating truce along the Line of Control" and further reasoned that " due to such actions the tone for a cricket series could not be set between the two countries even at neutral venues." She believes that "terrorism and cricket can't go hand in hand."
India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in 2012-13, that comprised 3 ODI games. The series scoreline finished at 2-1, and it was Pakistan who won this series hosted by India. The neighboring nations last featured against each other in whites, in a 3-Test series hosted by India. India won this series 1-0.
Soon after the one-day series in 2012-13, political tension between the nations heightened as cricket was interrupted.
In June 2014, the Pakistan Cricket Board(PCB) indicated that an agreement to play six bilateral series had been signed with the BCCI.
After exhaustive negotiations, involving multiple offers and proposals on the venues and scheduling of the first of these series in December 2015, the boards were unable to reach an agreement, and the BCCI did not approve the series. In May 2017, BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary said that the BCCI would need approval from the Indian government before a full bilateral series can go ahead. There were no further developments, despite members of both boards meeting in Dubai to discuss the issue.
It seems unlikely that India and Pakistan will resume their cricketing rivalry anytime soon. With political tensions only escalating, it seems that fans will have to satisfy themselves with one-off contests in world tournaments. With the new FTP already released for 2019-23, it is very clear that there is no room for the possibility of an India-Pakistan clash, thus sending out a message that there will be no cricket between the two nations for at least another 5 years.
An India-Pakistan match is one that crowds hugely anticipate and admire. Without fail, this contest draws large TV audiences and is an excellent advertisement for the game itself. The lack of bilateral series is a huge loss to cricket, but it is understandable that amid political tensions, it is impractical to hold a series.
The security of players in such times is important and any incidents can have a devastating impact on either nation. It is best to let any issues settle down before an age-old rivalry resumes.