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LAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has included the issue of the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan in its strategic policy, which has been finalized in its meeting held in Dubai last week, Dawn has learnt.

Though the above mentioned issue was not included in the original draft of the strategic policy when it was presented before the member countries of the ICC during the meeting, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) raised an objection and asked that the ICC should also include the point regarding the restoration of international cricket in Pakistan.

It may be mentioned here that international cricket has remained suspended in Pakistan since 2009 when the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by terrorists during the Lahore Test. Although there have been scattered activities such the Zimbabwe limited-overs series in 2015, the World XI visit and the Sri lannka T20 last year, major cricketing nations such as Australia, England, New Zealand, India and South Africa have stayed away due to security reasons. The West Indies, however, will be touring Lahore in March to play three T20 matches.

New development made after PCB raises objection

Meanwhile, the ICC strategic policy has to deal with matters such as how to promote cricket in the other parts of the world including the US and how to keep it controversy free. So far, the ICC has failed to take any strong decision or measures to ensure the restoration of international cricket in Pakistan.

Though the world governing body had formed a Pakistan specific Task Force a couple of years back, it has not been able to persuade any of the ICC full members to tour here.

Moreover, sources said there was no big breakthrough at the ICC level about the compensation case filed by the PCB against the BCCI for not honouring the MoUs signed in 2014 for the resumption of the bilateral series.

Though the PCB has filed a case before the ICC Dispute Resolution Committee against the BCCI for the compensation of USD 70 million for not honouring the MoUs, ICC has shied away from taking up the issue forcefully.

Sources said that both Pakistan and India cricket boards had submitted their replies in detail to the ICC Dispute Resolution Comm­ittee over the issue of MoUs, but it would take still some more time — around three to six months — before a final decision could be taken on the matter.

According to the MoUs, both Pakistan and India were to play six bilateral series starting 2015 to 2023, with four to be hosted by Pakistan either at home or in the UAE. But so far not a single series has been held.

After the BCCI rejected the demand of compensation, the PCB has asked the ICC to resolve the issue once for all.

It may be mentioned here that the issue of the MoUs is also affecting the PCB in giving a final nod to its Future Tours Programme (FTP). The PCB has informed the ICC that though it has finalised an initial FTP comprising around 124 Tests, ODIs and T20 matches to be played in the next four years, from 2019 to 2023, it could be changed if the PCB wins the case against the BCCI.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2018