Chandigarh: Lord’s hasn’t been talked about as a possible venue for the annual fund-raising ODIs between India and Pakistan, but the home of cricket may actually be a host if the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has no objection.
“Informal discussions have been initiated, but the ECB has to feel comfortable... One of the objectives of such matches is to reach out to the Indian and Pakistani expats and, obviously, they will pack Lord’s,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph on Friday.
According to the source, the Lord’s initiative has been taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and, once the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) agrees, the ECB could be made a “partner" in that venture. After all, it has to derive some benefit.
Lord’s, incidentally, is MCC territory and its response has been “favourable.” What matters, though, is how the ECB views an Asian fund-raising exercise in England.
The matches are to be held (by rotation) for five years, with the first set of five ODIs scheduled in the Gulf this year itself ' in the late September-early October ‘window’.
Abu Dhabi is hosting two matches next month, but that’s a one-off exercise which shouldn’t be confused with the five-year agreement between the BCCI and the PCB. Those fund-raisers are to benefit victims of last October’s earthquake and the Boards themselves.
Besides cities in the US, the BCCI and PCB are looking at Toronto, Amstelveen, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat, Dhaka, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur as venues for the annual face-off. London, too.
Sharjah can come into consideration if New Delhi gives its okay. The Indians, at least, haven’t played there after October 2000 ' not since the CBI’s report into match-fixing was made public.