Calcutta, May 10: The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has “no plans” to organise an ‘ice-breaking’ India versus Pakistan match in September, assuming New Delhi gives the go-ahead for a one-to-one with the Rashid Latif-led team.
“I’ve been misquoted... The possibility of such a game was talked about during last week’s Asian Cricket Foundation meeting in Dubai, but even if that comes about, the ACC won’t have anything to do with it. In fact, it will strictly be a bilateral arrangement,” chief executive Syed Ashraful Huq told The Telegraph this afternoon.
Earlier this week, an agency report (from Dhaka) had quoted Huq as saying the match would be an ACC venture.
Speaking from Kuala Lumpur, where he is based, Huq added: “The ACC, of course, will be delighted if such a game does take place. Besides bettering one-to-one ties, it will cement relations within the ACC.”
Though nobody wished to be quoted, one understands Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) supremo, Lt General Tauqir Zia, informally talked about “pushing in” a couple of ODIs this year itself provided the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government sanctioned resumption of bilateral exchanges.
Clearly, the quicker the ball begins to roll, the better. Given the two countries’ calendar, however, suitable dates can only be found in September. The PCB, it may be recalled, has already invited India next February.
As reported in these columns, New Delhi is favourably disposed towards resuming one-to-one ties. Unless there’s a dramatic change in heart, the only issue is when exactly will the Vajpayee government give the green signal.
Significantly, many are of the opinion that the decision could be announced soon as the latest session of Parliament ended Friday. The BCCI, for its part, has adopted a wait-and-watch policy. After all, it’s a sensitive issue.
Officially, New Delhi has been maintaining “overnight” renewal isn’t possible. But, then, behind-the-scenes activity has been pretty vigorous.
Bilateral exchanges have stopped from early 1999.