LONDON - The International Cricket Council ( ICC ) has admitted that it deliberately tries to put India and Pakistan in the same group at world events as it is hugely important for the success of tournaments.

India and Pakistan are set to meet in the group stage of Champions Trophy in England next year, making the mouthwatering clash a reality for the fifth tournament in succession. "No doubt we want to try to put India versus Pakistan in our event," ICC chief executive Dave Richardson was quoted as saying by 'The Telegraph'. "It's hugely important from an ICC point of view. It's massive around the world and the fans have come to expect it as well. It's fantastic for the tournament because it gives it a massive kick."

Richardson, however, denied that the constant clash between the arch-rivals affects the fairness of ICC events. "What we try and do is make sure that when you add up the rankings of the different groups, they all add up to the same number of points. You can do that in a number of ways. So long as the pools are balanced, it's silly to avoid (the fixture) when you can fairly cater for it," he added.

The draw for the eight-team tournament was announced here on Wednesday. The Asian powerhouses will go head to head at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on June 4. The 18-day tournament will run from June 1 to 18 and will also see matches played at the Cardiff Wales Stadium in Cardiff and The Oval in London.

A couple of days before the all-Asian clash, Australia and New Zealand will lock horns in a repeat of the World Cup 2015 final at Edgbaston. The top eight sides as on September 30, 2015 have qualified for this tournament, with world champions Australia seeded number-one. They head Group A, which also includes fourth seeds New Zealand, sixth seeds England and seventh seeds Bangladesh, who will be returning to this competition for the first time since 2006. India lead Group B, which also comprises third seeds South Africa, fifth seeds Sri Lanka and eighth seeds Pakistan.

Meanwhile, ICC chief executive David Richardson expects Pakistan quick bowler Mohammad Amir to tour England next month, saying the former spot-fixer's return is a "good thing" for the sport.

"I always think you get handed out your punishment, you serve it and then who are we to say 'never again?'," Richardson told AFP in an interview at The Oval in south London on Wednesday following the launch of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy one-day tournament.

"He (Amir) has certainly shown a willingness to make sure he sets an example now by asking younger players to learn from his mistakes. "Certainly, I think it's a good thing that he's back playing," the 56-year-old added. "I'd be surprised if he (Amir) doesn't end up coming (to England)."

If Amir does make the tour, he could be bowling to England captain Alastair Cook. This week saw the 31-year-old Cook become the youngest player to score 10,000 Test runs when he reached the landmark in a series-clinching win over Sri Lanka at the Riverside. Cook's method of patient accumulation is at odds with the modern-day trend for big-hitting exemplified by the likes of West Indies' Chris Gayle, Australia's David Warner and recently-retired former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.

But Richardson said left-handed opener Cook's approach was none the worse for that. "I like the fact he's not in the Gayle, Warner or McCullum mould," explained Richardson. "He's a more traditional opening batsman, as we've known them to be."

The former South Africa wicket-keeper added: "It's a good example to young cricketers that you don't have to hit every second ball out of the park to be successful." But while Test cricket remains well-regarded in England and Australia, it is struggling to maintain interest elsewhere in the world, with some players opting to take part in lucrative domestic Twenty20 events instead.

The ICC cricket committee, who are meeting at Lord's this week, are looking at introducing two divisions into Test cricket as a way of reviving interest. More day/night Tests, following the success of the Australia-New Zealand clash at the Adelaide Oval in November, are also on the agenda. However, any changes will have to be approved by the full ICC board.

Richardson cited a renewed understanding by Test nations to provide fixtures with "context" if the "primacy of international cricket is going to be sustained well into the future. If we want to make sure the best players are playing international cricket, we have to make sure that our members are in a position to reward and incentivise their players to play all formats. "That boils down to a funding model that provides the members with the means to do just that.

"The board is looking at the funding model of the ICC, hopefully making teams less reliant on (lucrative) Indian tours and creating a model that not only allows their players to earn a lot of money playing in domestic T20 leagues, but also to play for their country and be well rewarded," he added.

As for day/night Tests, Richardson said: "I think they are very good for the game. "It would make sense to play cricket at times when people can afford to go and watch."