President of governing body says organization cannot force countries to participate in proposed December series.
Zaheer Abbas, the president of cricket’s governing body, said Monday his organization could not intervene to revive regular matches between India and Pakistan after the two countries cancelled high-level talks last weekend.
The rivals were tentatively scheduled to play their first full-series since 2007 in the United Arab Emirates, from December to January. But the cancellation of high-level talks between the two countries’ national security advisers that were scheduled to begin Sunday has put the tour in serious doubt.
India-Pakistan relations are at their lowest point in over a decade, with the two regularly trading fire over the disputed de facto border of Kashmir in recent months.
Former batting great Abbas said the matter was out of the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s hands. “What is the meaning of bilateral?” Abbas said, “if both the countries decide then only it will happen, which is bilateral, otherwise it won’t and ICC cannot do anything.”
India stopped playing series featuring only the two countries following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were planned by militants inside Pakistan. Last year both countries agreed to play six series from 2015 to 2023 with Pakistan hosting four, subject to clearance from the Indian government.
Abbas, who assumed the honorary post in June this year, said world cricket sorely missed the decades-long sporting rivalry. “It’s imperative that the whole world watch [Pakistan play India], it’s like Australia playing England in the recent Ashes series, but all depends on the two countries,” said Abbas.
Abbas was at his best as a batsman when India toured Pakistan in 1978, the first series between the two countries after a 17-year hiatus due to political tensions, scoring 583 runs in three Tests.
Pakistan and India also stopped playing cricket matches against each other between 1989 and 1999.