Pakistan confirmed on Wednesday it had agreed to play six full series of cricket against India with official backing, the first since the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks suspended play between the teams.
Pakistan is expected to host four of the matches over the next eight years, pending a legal agreement, after its cricket board said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with India on the issue.
“The Future Tours Program (FTP) for Pakistan between 2015 and 2023 will have six tours with India, four of which will be hosted by Pakistan,” said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed.
Reports had been circulating since last month that a full series would be played between the two nations as early as next year after the PCB conditionally agreed to a reorganization of the game’s administration, the International Cricket Council (ICC), which will give India a bigger say in its governance.
India suspended all bilateral series with Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 attacks, which New Delhi blamed on militants based across the border.
The Pakistan team did tour India for a short limited over series in December 2012-January 2013 but a full series was not agreed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Ahmad said the six tours would involve “14 Tests, 30 one-days and 12 T20s.” The PCB expected the tours to be written into legally binding agreements “as soon as possible,” he added.
The PCB wanted the first of the series to be played on home ground but if the security situation was not conducive to it the match will be played in the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan has not hosted any international cricket since terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009.
If the series goes ahead it will mark the biggest success for Pakistan in recent years after a prolonged isolation at the international level due to security fears. Pakistan last played a full series in India in 2007 while India last toured Pakistan in 2006.
The cricket matches between Pakistan and India are widely seen as the most sought after in cricket globally, with billions watching them on television around the world.