LAHORE – The Board for Cricket Control in India (BCCI) has refused to send Indian team to tour Pakistan in August 2013 citing security concerns and rejected proposal of play against them at any neutral venue or in India, it has been learnt.
Indian media reports and private TV channels of Pakistan claim that BCCI had already informed the PCB that it was not in favour of their team visit to Islamabad amid prevailing security situation. The BCCI has also rejected PCB proposal of holding Pakistan home series in India or and at a neutral venue as well.
Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf during his meeting with BCCI president N Srinivasan in Chennai had proposed that India should visit Pakistan. “He seemed to have a one point agenda that we should visit Pakistan. But what is the ground situation there? The ICC is refusing to depute its umpires. How can we visit the country in such circumstances? Let them host Australia first and then we’ll think about touring the country,” the report quoted BCCI official as saying. As for the proposal of a neutral venue, the official rubbished the idea.
 It added, “We’ll simply follow the FTP (Future Tours Programme) and there is no way we’ll play at a neutral venue.” The BCCI is also miffed that the PCB tries to politicize bilateral cricket by having the matter raised at political and diplomatic levels.
On the other hand, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf on his arrival with team players from India, talking to media said that he has not discussed the Indian team tour to Pakistan as yet and expressed the hope that he will surely convince the BCCI officials to send their team to Pakistan. The PCB will ensure foolproof security to the visitors during their tour.
Chairman Zaka Ashraf said that Pakistan is a safe venue and talks are on with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for resumption of cricket ties in the country.
Ashraf told that he discussed the international cricket return to Pakistan issue with the ICC chief executive Dave Richardson on the sidelines of the third and the final ODI against India on Sunday and "talks were fruitful". It has agreed in principle with the ICC chief executive that Pakistan can host international cricket teams. Last year, an ICC committee also assessed the security situation in Pakistan and the reports were positive," Ashraf said.
Zaka said he was happy with the outcome of the talks with the ICC and hoped that things would improve in the coming days. "Richardson has just taken over and I informed him about the detailed discussions we had in the past with his predecessor Haroon Lorgat. I am happy with the talks with ICC. Hopefully, the situation will improve in the coming few days," he said.
Another report said that the PCB chief Zaka Ashraf declined to comment on the discussions he had held with his counterpart from BCCI on the future course of Indo-Pak bilateral cricket relations. "I don`t want to share anything with the media on this subject until discussions and talks are underway with them," Ashraf told reporters after his arrival from India on Monday.
Pakistani television channels quoted the Indian media reports that the BCCI had also made their stance clear to Ashraf that until security situation in Pakistan was not 100 per cent restored for international cricket, they wouldn`t send their team.
Ashraf had yesterday told a news channel in New Delhi that he had given a proposal to the BCCI to name Pakistan and India`s bilateral series as the `Jinnah-Gandhi Cup`.
"I have proposed that in future Pakistan and India should also play a full series against each other as regularly as the Ashes series is held. And this series should be played for the Jinnah-Gandhi Cup," Ashraf said. He said that he had discussed the issue of Indo-Pak series getting iconic status in the ICC. "I have held discussions with the BCCI on regularising bilateral ties and India coming to play in Pakistan next August," Ashraf said.
The PCB chief, despite the restoration of Indo-Pak bilateral ties in his tenure, has faced some criticism for agreeing to send the team to India for the short series without demanding any financial compensation or share from the BCCI in return.
Ashraf has also come under criticism for agreeing to send the team to India without getting any confirmation from the BCCI on when they will next give Pakistan a full series.