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BCCI writes to PCB, regrets cancellation of talks

Lahore: The BCCI has written to its Pakistani counterpart expressing regret over the cancellation of the talks between its president Shashank Manohar and PCB chief Shahryar Khan in Mumbai earlier this month. It has also said that it has approached the Indian government for a decision on the bilateral series scheduled to be held in December.

Manohar and Shahryar were scheduled to meet at the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) headquarters in Mumbai on October 19 to discuss the bilateral series which was thrown into uncertainty due to political problems between the two neighbours following heightened tension along the border.

The series, scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was part of an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the BCCI.

According to the MoU, the two nations are to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023. Four of these series will be hosted by Pakistan and the six tours -- pending a legal agreement -- will include up to 14 Tests, 30 ODIs and 12 T20s.

But the talks were cancelled when activists belonging to the Shiv Sena -- who have consistently opposed the resumption of cricketing ties with Pakistan -- stormed into the BCCI headquarters and threatened Manohar. Following the cancellation of the meeting, the PCB had threatened to withdraw from the World Twenty20 championship to be held in India early next year.

The cancellation had caused widespread outrage among the cricket fraternity in Pakistan, with several former players speaking out against the incident.

"Mr. Manohar has expressed his sincere regrets for the cancellation of the meeting. Under pressure from extremist elements, BCCI cancelled its meeting," the PCB said in a statement on Thursday.

"It has also been conveyed (to the PCB) that the BCCI has officially approached the Indian government to obtain definitive guidance on the Pakistan-India series," the statement added.

"The PCB maintains that sports and politics should not be mixed and hopes that the BCCI will not be held hostage by extremist elements who wish to sabotage bilateral cricket relations."

Meanwhile, talking to the Dawn on Thursday, PCB's director of media operations Amjad Hussain said that there is still hope for an India-Pakistan bilateral showdown in December.

India have not played a full bilateral Test series with Pakistan after the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008. The last time the arch-rivals met in a full series was in 2007, though Pakistan toured India for a short limited overs series in December 2012.

The PCB has already said that it has a backup plan in case India refused to play against Pakistan in December, but it still hopes BCCI will fulfil its commitment.

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