Indian govt to decide on playing 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan, says sports minister

Published November 18, 2021
The Indian cricket team has not toured Pakistan since the 2008 Asia Cup. — AFP/File
The Indian cricket team has not toured Pakistan since the 2008 Asia Cup. — AFP/File

Indian sports minister Anurag Thakur said on Wednesday that a decision regarding the Indian cricket team's participation in the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan would be made after reviewing the "circumstances" ahead of the tournament, because the current situation in Pakistan was "not normal" and security remained a challenge.

The Indian minister's statement comes just a day after the International Cricket Council announced Pakistan as the host for the eight-team tournament.

"Even in the past, you would have seen many countries have pulled out [of going] there (Pakistan) and play[ing] because the situation there is not normal," Thakur told reporters in Delhi, according to ESPNcricinfo.

He said "security is the main challenge [in Pakistan], like teams have been attacked in the past, which is a concern. So when the time comes, the Indian government will take a decision depending on the circumstances then."

The minister emphasised that "several factors" were taken into consideration before making decisions regarding global tournaments, and recalled previous assessments made by the Indian government

The 50-over Champions Trophy will be the first ICC event hosted by Pakistan since it shared the 1996 World Cup with India and Sri Lanka.

No Indian cricket team has played in Pakistan since the 2008 Asia Cup. There has been no bilateral cricket between the two countries in Pakistan since India travelled here in 2005-06 for a full tour comprising three Tests and five ODIs, according to ESPNcricinfo.

India last hosted Pakistan in a bilateral series in 2013, and the neighbours now meet only in global tournaments.

The ICC announcement on Tuesday came as a big boost to Pakistan after England and New Zealand pulled out of their tours of the country in September.

International teams had largely refused to tour Pakistan since an attack by militants on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians.

There were fears the decisions of New Zealand and England will again dampen the prospects of international cricket in Pakistan.

But in improving signs, Australia this month confirmed they will tour Pakistan next year for the first time since 1998 to play three Tests, three ODIs and a Twenty20 match. England also reaffirmed their tour of Pakistan in September and October 2022, and said they would play two additional T20Is.

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