The England Cricket Board (ECB) on Tuesday offered to become “neutral hosts” for a future Pakistan-India Test series, according to a report published by The Telegraph.
The announcement has opened the opportunity for the two countries to play bilateral cricket for the first time in 15 years.
Pakistan and India have not played men’s cricket against one another — apart from multi-team events — in any format since January 2013 as their last Test match was played in December 2007.
“Martin Darlow, the deputy chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board, has held talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board during the current Twenty20 series and offered England’s grounds as venues for ideally a three-match Test series in the future,” The Telegraph report said today.
It stated that the matches would attract big crowds in the United Kingdom —which has a large ex-pat south Asian population — along with huge sponsorship revenue and television audiences.
Furthermore, the report pointed out that it would be more politically acceptable for India to play Pakistan on neutral turf.
“It is understood the PCB are not keen on playing India at the moment at a neutral venue but are grateful for the ECB’s offer, which shows the growing relationship between the two boards,” it added.
Later, a PCB spokesperson confirmed the development saying that the board was contacted in this regard.
Earlier this month, at a press briefing, Foreign Office Spokesman Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said that it was India that had walked away from playing bilateral cricket with Pakistan.
“We have always advocated that sports should not be mixed with other matters,” Ahmad said, adding that if India wanted to play against Pakistan, it was always welcome to do so.