LAHORE - A short bilateral and much anticipated cricket series between Pakistan and India will be held between December 24 and January 5 as there are signals that the Indian government would give it a go ahead this week.

According to a reliable source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the tentative dates discussed for the series is meant for a short series of three ODIs and two Twenty20 matches.

“The series will be played probably in Sri Lanka in such a manner that both the teams leave for their tours to New Zealand and Australia straight from Colombo,” the source said.

He said the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) had indicated that it wanted to give its players a rest period of around 10 to 12 days before the series against Pakistan. While India has to travel to Australia around January 6 or 7, Pakistan is scheduled to leave for New Zealand for a limited-over series on January 7. “Most probably both teams will go from Colombo directly to their destinations,” the source said.

He said Pakistan head coach Waqar Younus had also informed the PCB that if the series against Indian goes ahead then he would like to have a week-long camp in Sri Lanka before the matches.

He said there was also a possibility that the series could be reduced to two ODIs and two T20 matches since time is running out fast to complete logistical and organisational details by the PCB.

“The PCB also has to contend with the fact that it is rainy season in Colombo in December and they will have to select venues in consultation with the Sri Lanka Cricket carefully so that bad weather does not affect these matches,” the source said.

The fate of a planned series between Pakistan and India is expected to be decided during a visit to Islamabad by India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who arrived in Pakistan yesterday to attend the Heart of Asia regional conference.

However, BCCI president Shashank Manohar yesterday carefully dodged questions on the proposed India-Pakistan series. When Manohar was asked about the status of the series, he gave a strange reply.

“It is Pakistan which needs to decide the venue, ticketing, broadcasters for the series. It is their series,” the Vidarbha-based lawyer said. When asked if there are chances that the government will clear the tour, he smiled and said: “I am not an astrologer and I can’t predict,” he said. “It’s the government’s call, let the government take it.”

But according to the PCB official, who requested anonymity, India’s reluctance to give Pakistan a clear answer has left the board with possibility of arranging only a very short series which could see the number of games being reduced.

“Both the boards cannot delay the dates of the series as both the teams have their international commitments in January,” an official told APP. According to the official the series could not be organised “before or after December 15” which would mean chopping one ODI from the three ODI series and taking out one game from the two-match T20 series.

The series, agreed between the two boards in a memorandum of understanding signed last year, was originally scheduled to pit the two teams in three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, but ran into trouble amid strained political relations.