In an attempt to jumpstart the cricketing ties and fill its dry, bankrupt coffers with money, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently orchestrated an elaborate lobbying attempt by planting stories in the local media circles that India and Pakistan could soon renew their rivalry on the cricket field later this year.
According to a report in a Pakistan daily, the country’s national cricket board had been told to be ready for a bilateral series with India later in 2021 with a possibility of the two rivals playing three T20s during a six-day window. “We’ve been told to be prepared,” a PCB official was quoted as saying by Daily Jang.
Sensing that a series was in the offing, Pakistan’s ever-green cricketer Shahid Afridi also chimed in and remarked that the series could mend ties between the two countries.
“Cricket between Pakistan and India is very important. Sports should be kept away from politics. Relations between the two countries can improve because of cricket,” Afridi was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan. The statement coming from Shahid Afridi is a bit hypocritical as he was the same person who on a trip to ‘Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir’ foul-mouthed the Indian Prime Minister.
However, before the incident could snowball into something bigger than a strand of fallaciousness — the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president Rajiv Shukla came out and rebuffed the claims as well as the reports stating otherwise. Shukla reiterated the fact that the Indian board cannot organise a bilateral series with the Pakistan cricket team unless it is given a green signal by the Indian government.
“No such discussion has taken place within the board. Our stand has been the same in the last ten years. Unless we get approval from the government, we can’t have a bilateral series with Pakistan,” said Shukla in an interview with Dainik Jagran.
BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla on reports of an India-Pakistan series "No such discussion has taken place within the board. Our stand has been the same in the last ten years. Unless we get approval from the government, we can’t have a bilateral series with Pakistan" #Cricket
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) March 26, 2021
The last time the two nations played a bilateral series with each other was way back in the year 2012-13. Since then, the two teams have only locked horns in ICC tournaments and Asia Cup. The last instance India and Pakistan matched up against each other was in the 2019 World cup where India gave a battering to its arch-rival and kept its 100 per cent winning record in the World Cups intact.
India has nothing to lose, even if the bilateral series doesn’t take place. However, PCB, which is already bleeding dry due to the postponement of PSL for the second straight season is trying to organise the series so as to stay afloat. Thus, in a last-ditch attempt to sway public opinion, PCB started the entire campaign — only to see it bomb spectacularly in their faces.