ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has permitted the Pakistani cricket team to play a series against India in Sri Lanka next month, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sources said on Thursday.
According to a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the prime minister gave his approval for the India series only after Sri Lanka was finalised as the venue for the fixtures.
"The Pakistan government never had a problem with the series going ahead. It only had reservations about the team travelling to India amid the prevailing tensions," the source said.
Indian Premier League Chairman and BCCI functionary Rajeev Shukla told reporters the series is likely to happen from December 15 in Sri Lanka, IBNLive reported.
"India-Pakistan series will happen tentatively from December 15 in Sri Lanka," he said.
Pakistan and India's cricket boards have been deadlocked for months on a venue for the series. India had refused to play in the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan rejected the Indian board's proposal to play the series in India.
Giles Clarke, who heads International Cricket Council's Pakistan Task Force, organised a meeting in Dubai between the heads of two cricket boards last week where Sri Lanka was chosen as the venue.
ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday reported that both the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the PCB confirmed they had written to their respective government's for clearance for the tour.
The series, comprising three ODIs and two T20s, is expected to kick off on December 20, most likely in Pallekele or Colombo.
"PCB can benefit from the Indo-Pak series in Sri Lanka by earning up to Rs3 billion ahead of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in February next year," a source earlier said.
Pakistan and India have not played a bilateral series since 2007.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding both the boards had agreed in 2014, six series were scheduled between 2015 and 2023, with four series to be hosted by Pakistan.
But all series were subject to clearance from the respective governments.
The December-January series comprises two Tests, five One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals but with time running out the series is likely to be shortened to limited over matches.
A meeting between the newly-elected BCCI president Shashank Manohar and the PCB's Shaharyar Khan was held in Dubai earlier this week to break the deadlock on the holding of a bilateral cricket series between the two sides.
Both and India and Pakistan have voiced reluctance at playing the series at each other's home.
According to an International Cricket Council (ICC) schedule, Pakistan were to host India in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a full tour comprising two Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is later this year.
But India had ruled out the option of playing in the UAE despite Pakistan's insistence. Pakistan has been hosting teams in the UAE for years due to security threats in its own territory, but so far India has not made clear the reason for its reluctance to play there.
Manohar had said, "We want to play in India. That is the thing."
The PCB chief, however, had maintained his team would not travel to India and would play the series in the UAE, as agreed under the MoU signed last year.
Khan had said a final decision on the series will only be taken by the Pakistani government.