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Series begins Dec. 25

Calcutta: The fans’ wait for Indo-Pak bilateral cricket action is going to end on the Christmas Day. And the Board of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI), too, seems to be eagerly waiting for the thrilling contest as they didn’t wait much time, after the Home Ministry’s clearance, in announcing the fixtures.

A day after the government cleared Pakistan’s upcoming tour of India, the Board, on Thursday, announced the dates for the limited-over series, which begins with a T20 International on December 25, in Bangalore.

Reaching Bangalore on December 22, Pakistan will kick off their campaign at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium a couple of days later, before moving on to Ahmedabad for the second encounter. Thereafter, the visitors head to Chennai for the first of the three-match ODI series, that starts from December 30.

The second ODI will be played in Calcutta on January 3, while the third and final one-dayer will be held in Delhi on January 6, a BCCI release stated.

The series is sandwiched between two legs of England’s tour of India. England play the second and final T20 international in Mumbai on December 22 — the day Pakistan arrive — before returning home for Christmas. The ODI series between England and India starts on January 11, five days after the series against Pakistan ends.

According to a website, Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, has welcomed the announcement and said that the series was long due. “This is a great news for the people of both Pakistan and India,” Ashraf said. “You can’t just clap with one hand. Both countries need each other and that strengthens the relationship. The series will be a big breakthrough and a revival of our cricketing relationship with India.”

Pakistan have not played a bilateral series against India since their last tour of India back in 2007. The cricketing ties between the two nations were snapped after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

India’s Home Ministry cleared the tour on Tuesday. The clearance was given at a meeting in New Delhi on between ministry officials and senior representatives of the BCCI — including its chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla.