NEW DELHI - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) may be hopeful of a full series against India in the UAE in December, but the proposed revival of ties has hit a roadblock even before getting off the ground. According to sources, the PCB and the Indian cricket board (BCCI) have differences over broadcast rights issues, in particular the PCB's series-by-series association with Ten Sports.

The BCCI's main point of contention is that the Essel group - whose arm Zee Telefilms owns Ten Sports - is allegedly involved in plans to promote an unofficial T20 league on the lines of the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL). The BCCI, it is learnt, does not approve of the PCB-Ten Sports deal and is not keen on an India-Pakistan series being broadcast by a potential 'rival' group.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, who had a meeting with PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan in Kolkata, did not divulge details but told TOI on Monday, "We are open to playing a series against Pakistan. But there are a few things which needed to be sorted out before the final scheduling is done."

Sources said the BCCI is hopeful government approval for the series will be given in time if the Ten Sports issue is sorted out. In the past, the BCCI even suspended pensions of those former cricketers who had been involved in the ICL. According to sources, the PCB is seeking the BCCI's help to resolve this issue of broadcast rights.

In 2013, BCCI president N Srinivasan was snubbed at an International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting after suggesting that member boards refrain from entering into any broadcast deal with Ten Sports. Following an objection by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), which has a broadcast deal with them, the ICC ruled that it was the right of any cricket board to choose its broadcaster.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, in an interview in India, said they also wanted to accommodate an alternative to Ten Sports as the BCCI was not comfortable with them but there was no real competitor to them during the bidding process.

“We were keen that Indian broadcasters enter the fray to bid for the series. It’s a wrong conclusion that we were trying to help Ten Sports get the rights. In fact the reverse is true. We wanted Star or Sony or any other Indian company to engage in the bidding process. We were committed to having a fair and transparent bidding process. We tried to encourage your broadcasters to come and bid. Eventually, one of them did, but the bid was so short of the bid made by Ten Sports that there was no option but to give it to the latter. It wasn’t that we favoured them, it was only that their bid was much higher. We were under constant pressure from our anti-corruption people to ensure that the bidding process was fair and transparent. So, I was not going to risk a criminal charge by being non-transparent, for doing favours to people.”

The PCb chief said they have said all along that if the BCCI has a problem with Ten Sports or the Essel Group, just let them know in writing but they were never told in writing, even though they asked for it. “You write to us and we will do what is necessary, because legally, our position is then established that BCCI is not willing to accept a particular broadcaster. So that makes it easier for us although we lose money on it.”

On Essel group’s intentions to stage a rival cricket league, the PCB chief said they were are opposed to any alternative league. “Although we do not feature in IPL, we are opposed to any other broadcaster arranging an alternative league as has been rumoured. We said, if you can’t write to us, let ICC write to us, let them examine if these people are actually trying to undermine IPL, and ICC. If ICC tell us that these people are not kosher, there it is, we can then take steps. But unless we get something in writing, we leave ourselves open to a lawsuit for breaking a contract. Our position is very transparent, very clear and if there’s something in writing, of course we’ll take action.”