2nd round of talks on Indo-Pak cricket in coming weeks: BCCI

Chandigarh: Amid intense speculation over the fate of the proposed India-Pakistan series, the BCCI on Thursday indicated that a second round of talks between the two Boards could take place soon to work out the modalities for resumption of bilateral cricketing ties.

PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan had visited India recently to rally hard for the resumption of Indo-Pak cricket ties.

Shaharyar, during a joint press statement with BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya in Kolkata, proposed a series comprising three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s in UAE in December this year but the BCCI has not given any categorical statement yet on the proposed series and the venue.

"Possibility is that in the coming few days or coming weeks, second round of talks will take place," BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur told a press conference here.

Thakur, who is also a BJP MP from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, said the talks between the Boards of the two countries were still in 'early stages'.

"The series is yet to be decided, but already the issue cropped up in the Parliament while for some TV channels, it became a matter of debate," he said.

Seeking to clarify the situation with regards to the series as of now, Thakur said, "I want to say only this, which is that the talks between the Boards of two countries has taken place, which are at early stages. And when talks between two Boards takes place, you limit the talk to just cricket only.

"At Government level, what is their thinking, whether they want (the series to take place) or not, on this no talk has taken place," Thakur said. He further said that "there are many things between BCCI and PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) which need to be discussed.

PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan visited India and met (BCCI President Jagmohan) Dalmiya and me and kept his view." He said that according to Future Tours Programme, the series was to be hosted by Pakistan in December.

"Whether it will take place or not, and if it happens, then in which country will it take place since the situation in Pakistan is not conducive, and if the series will be held then how many matches are to be played, these are some things and other issues on which talks are going on," he said.

It is learnt that some top BCCI officials are keen to have the series in India and want the Board to explore that possibility with PCB.

Asked to comment on BCCI's reservation of the PCB-Ten Sports broadcasting deal and is not keen on an India-Pakistan series being broadcast by a potential "rival" group, Thakur said "as far as Ten Sports is concerned, the talk is on between BCCI and PCB".

"There are certain issues related to the Essel Group which are pending in the court, I would not like to comment on that as of now. But the ball is in the PCB court, it is their prerogative", he said.

When asked if there was a possibility in future that India might host Pakistan, he said, "it is now the turn of Pakistan to host us."

Shaharyar has also extended invitations to key officials of the BCCI and government functionaries to attend a match of the forthcoming series against Zimbabwe in Lahore. Shaharyar had met Thakur in New Delhi yesterday.

Zimbabwe are due to tour Pakistan from May 19 to play three ODIs and two T20 matches in Lahore, the first series being hosted by the strife-torn country for a long time.

The PCB Chairman has been in India since the weekend to meet key BCCI officials and top government functionaries in a bid to drum up support for the Indo-Pak series in December.

Shaharyar, a former career diplomat who remained high commissioner of Pakistan in New Delhi, met BCCI President Dalmiya in Kolkata on Sunday and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here on Tuesday.

Since 2007, India have not played a full bilateral Test series with Pakistan mainly due to political reasons, particularly after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks which led to suspension of cricketing ties.

The two countries played one short series of three ODIs and two T20 matches in India in December 2012 but otherwise they have met only in ICC organised events or the Asia Cup.

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