MUMBAI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) finds itself in a fix regarding the proposed India versus Pakistanbilateral series. On one hand they have to consideration dictation of the government that question whether there is a need for the series in the present political climate. On the other, they have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) staring at their face that was signed betweenthe two boards during former BCCI chief N Srinivasan’s tenure and confirmed six bilateral series on a home-and-away basis between 2015 and 2023.

India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is yet to decide on giving clearance to the BCCI to play a bilateral series with Pakistan in Sri Lanka.

"No decision has been taken on the Indian-Pakistan series," MEA's official spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

BCCI are unsure how much longer they will have to wait for a clearance from the government to decide upon the fate of the series.

By Thursday night, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was yet to give any clearance to the Indian board. Earlier in the day, there were reports from Pakistan, however, that stated that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had handed a green signal for India and Pakistan to face each other in Sri Lanka next month. IPL chairman and BCCI bigwig, Rajeev Shukla, too, claimed that a tentative date, December 15, had already been set for the series.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had written a letter to MEA only a few days ago seeking clearance for the tour and sources in the board informed that it’s likely that there will be delay.

The Indian board had earlier tried to convince PCB to play the series—which by turn is Pakistan’s to host—in India. But the PCB had put their foot down and refused the idea, citing the MoU, which clears the way to have the series in a neutral venue like UAE, which is wherePakistan have been playing their home games since the terrorist attack against the Sri Lankan team in Lahore back in 2009.

“Tell me how we can convince Pakistan to come and play here? They argued that if the Shiv Sena party can march into the BCCIpresident’s office then what is the guarantee that another party cannot enter the team hotel in some other part of the country and create a scene,” a top BCCI official told The Indian Express on Thursday.

“We told them that we don’t want to play in UAE, which later they agreed with. Now they want to play in Sri Lanka. We can’t say no. After all we have agreed to play with them in writing. The MoU clearly says that both the teams can play at a neutral venue. The decision was taken under the Srinivasan regime, and it was surely done in haste without realising the future consequences,” he added.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that BCCI secretary Thakur, who is also a Member of Parliament from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, was awaiting a reply from the MEA. But since External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, is presently in Malta to attend the Commonwealth Summit, the decision will have to wait.

“It looks like till Sushmaji returns, there can be no final decision on the India-Pakistan series. Whatever the government decides, the BCCIwill abide to it,” another BCCI official said.