ECB offers to be a ‘neutral host’ for Pak-India Test series

The Nation  |  Sep 28, 2022

 ECB offers to be a ‘neutral host’ for Pak-India Test series
KARACHI-The England Cricket Board (ECB) has offered to be a neutral host for future Pakistan-India Test series so that both the nations can look forward to play bilateral cricket for the first time in more than 15 years. 

According to the Telegraph, it is reported that Martin Darlow, the deputy chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board, has held talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) during the current T20I series and extended England’s grounds as venues for ideally a three match Test series in the future. 

Pakistan vs India matches attract huge crowds. It was seen during the recent Asia Cup 2022 matches as well when it garnered large viewership. ECB has made the proposal with the thought that the matches would attract big crowds in the UK, which is home to a large south Asian population. In 2011 World Cup, when both the teams had faced each other in semi-finals then television audience was calculated to be 495 million. 

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Pakistan and India haven’t played bilateral series from quite a long time due to strained political relationships. It was last in 2007 when Pakistan team toured India. Moreover, the Pak players are also barred from playing in the IPL, a scenario that could spread if IPL owners buy teams in other leagues. 

Although, PCB is not keen on playing India at a neutral venue but they have expressed their gratitude towards ECB’s offer, which shows the growing relationship between the two boards. PCB is also trying to make cricket more inclusive as after a decade they persuaded teams to tour their own country. However, playing against India in bilateral series even at a neutral ground would mean approvals at various levels. 

It might not be the sole decision of the cricket boards of both the nations as it might probably take a change of government and political mood in India for any bilateral Test series to take place. Regardless of political relations, both countries’ cricket boards and players share good relation. But not playing India leaves Pakistan in big financial trouble. 

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Later on, sources in the PCB confirmed about this development. “The ECB has contacted us in this regard. “It’s an unofficial offer and nothing was accepted. PCB wishes to host India as it’s Pakistan’s turn officially,” the source further said.

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