The Friendship Series is fine but Pakistan will have to wait longer for a return tour. All the talk of the Indian team reciprocating Pakistan is pure speculation. Rather untrue. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in no mood to accept the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) proposal for a return series next summer.
It has been reported that India will return the favour for the current tour by playing a similar short series in August next year. England has been speculated to be the venue. But a top BCCI official ruled that out. “We’re not committed and we’re not in favour of playing at a neutral venue,” said the BCCI official, while denying that India might agree to play the series in England. It is believed that the BCCI has already conveyed this to the PCB.
The BCCI’s stated position is that it will stick to the ICC-approved FTP (Future Tours Programme) which means it will insist on playing only in Pakistan, that is whenever the country is safe for international cricket. The Indian board is averse to playing at neutral venues where Pakistan currently host their home matches.
A large PCB entourage, led by Zaka Ashraf, is expected to arrive in India before the start of the ODIs. The PCB chairman, apparently, has requested for at least 25-30 VVIP tickets for his family and friends at all the ODI venues. When he is in Chennai (where the first ODI on December 30 will be held), there could be an opportunity to broach the topic before BCCI president N Srinivasan but those close to the powers-that-be insist that the proposal will not be accepted. The BCCI will reiterate its position.
Pakistan, for the first time in India for a bilateral series since 26/11, are currently playing two T20 and three ODI games.