ICC favours Indo-Pak bilateral cricket, but can’t ensure that: Chairman Barclay

The International Cricket Council (ICC) logo at the ICC headquarters in Dubai, October 31, 2010. REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Tags: SPORT CRICKET)
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The International Cricket Council (ICC) would like to see traditional rivals India and Pakistan play bilateral series regularly, and in each other’s territories, said chairman Gregor John Barclay on Monday, but he also pointed out that he didn’t have the mandate to ensure that it actually happens.

India-Pakistan bilateral series always depends on the political relations that the two Asian neighbouring countries have, and they haven’t played a Test series against each other for 13 years. That was when Pakistan toured India in 2007 for a three-Test series while India’s last tour to Pakistan took place 14 years ago.

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Then, Pakistan visited India for a short ODI and T20I series in late 2012, and four years later toured India again for the 2016 T20 World Cup, an ICC event.

“I would love nothing more than for India and Pakistan to be able to continue cricketing relations as they were previously. I am also enough of a realist to understand that there are geo-political issues at play here that are way beyond my jurisdiction. I think all we can do at the ICC is to continue to help and support in any way that we can to bring about outcomes that would see India and Pakistan in a position where they can play cricket regularly against each other and in their home territories,” Barclay said in a virtual media interaction.

“Beyond that, I do not think I have a mandate or an ability to influence outcomes more than that. That is really being done at a level way beyond where we would be operating,” pointed out the New Zealander. Barclay, 59, however, said the ICC would play the role of a facilitator while the final say rests with the governments of both India and Pakistan.

“Rest assured that, as they say, from the cricketing point of view, we would love to get those countries back together again on a regular basis. The ICC will do whatever it can to help facilitate and support an outcome that might see that happen,” he averred.

Now, the issue of Pakistan touring India will come up again as the ICC T20 World Cup next year and the 50-over World Cup in 2023.