India may host Pak series in December

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New Delhi: The India-Pakistan cricket series, scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, might after all be held in India.

According to sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is not averse to sending its team to India if the circumstances don't allow the series to be played in the UAE.

And, as if to lend credibility to the talk of India hosting the series, PCB's official broadcaster TEN Sports - which won the five-year deal in April along with Pakistan TV for a reported $150 million - said on Wednesday that it would have no objection if the series was moved out of the UAE.

If Pakistan eventually tours India, the two boards will have to thrash out a formula to share revenue - an option that former BCCI president N. Srinivasan had declined a few years ago when PCB wanted to host its 'home' series in India.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who spent four days in India seeking clearance for the series, is believed to have discussed this option among the several issues that were taken up during his meetings with BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, secretary Anurag Thakur, and Union Minister Arun Jaitley, among others.

"They [PCB] are ready to play in India, if that is what would be required. He [Khan] gave hints towards that during his meetings with us," the BCCI source told Mail Today.

It is PCB's turn to host India, but due to political reasons and opposition to its broadcaster, it may not be able to stage the matches. No high-ranking team has toured Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009.

Since then, the PCB has opted to play all its 'home' series in the UAE. Now, India are scheduled to play two Tests, five One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals in December. But there is still uncertainty all around about India travelling to the UAE, where the first leg of the IPL was successfully staged last year.

During his stay in India, Khan had exuded confidence of getting the government green signal for the series.

Thakur, however, said on Wednesday that the government has still not cleared the tour.

"Met the president of the Pakistan Cricket Board in Delhi today [Wednesday]. We discussed some issues. Dialogue has just started, much needs to be decided upon. After the two boards finalise the dates and the venues, we'll go to the government for permission," Thakur was quoted as saying by ANI.

The alternate arrangement of India hosting the series would mean that the BCCI and the PCB will have to work out a revenue-sharing formula to the satisfaction of both parties. Also, a broadcaster will need to be chosen. BCCI's official broadcaster is STAR Sports.

BCCI has objection to PCB's official broadcaster TEN Sports, owned by Zee, which is apparently planning a global cricket event, rivalling the ICC.

But on Wednesday TEN Sports said that it would not have any objection if the series was held in India.

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