Home » Gear up for India-Pakistan bilateral series as Cricket Australia ‘happy’ to play hosts

Gear up for India-Pakistan bilateral series as Cricket Australia ‘happy’ to play hosts

Gear up for India-Pakistan bilateral series as Cricket Australia ‘happy’ to play hosts

Cricket Australia’s (CA) CEO Nick Hockley has shown interest in bringing arch-rivals India and Pakistan together on the same board to play white-ball cricket. Though both Asian powerhouses don’t indulge in bilateral cricket owing to tense relations, these two teams play only in ICC events and the Asia Cup. Knowing the gravity of this contest regarding its reach, engagement and revenue generation, CA is keen on putting them together.

Besides, Hockley wants to host a tri-series sometime soon involving Australia – something that hasn’t happened among the top teams in a long time. The last time these three teams played on Australian soil in a tri-series was nearly a quarter of a century ago.

With no reports of three concerned boards coming together for this, Hockley remains keen on CA initiating such an initiative. 

“Pakistan and India are traditional rival teams; there is a lot of excitement for their matches,” Hockley said. “To the extent that we’d be able to facilitate or help in that, we’d be very open to do so. However, the final decision rests with the respective cricket boards of India and Pakistan.”

Hockley’s idea is to bridge the gap between India and Pakistan on the cricket front at the international level, with billions of fans worldwide invested in this blockbuster contest. Even in the recently-concluded T20 World Cup in the Americas, the India-Pakistan Group A match (in New York) garnered the most views and engagement, with history suggesting that a game between two Asian giants makes the most money for the broadcasters too.

Meanwhile, India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series 12 years ago in India and the last Test series took place in 2008. Though Pakistan has travelled to India for multiple ICC tournaments since, including the 2016 T20 World Cup and the 50-over World Cup last year, India last toured Pakistan in 2008 (for the Asia Cup). 

However, with ICC granting Pakistan the hosting rights of the returning Champions Trophy format, taking place during the February-March window next year, questions are raised on BCCI and Team India’s stance. 

The BCCI is yet to respond to ICC’s draft schedule for the eight-team tournament, which includes all India matches at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, with the latest reports suggesting that India is in Group A alongside the hosts Pakistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh. 

Ten-team World Cup format is best

Following ICC’s call to increase the number of participating teams from the next 50-over WC edition onwards (from 10 to 14), Hockley said the ten-team format is the best, as it gives weightage to every game. 

“The ODI World Cup, which India hosted last year, was fantastic. I think the ten-team format, where every game counts, is excellent.

“From an Australian perspective, we would continue to value all three formats and would also want that each bilateral series must have consequences in terms of qualifications for the World Cups,” Hockley concluded.

(With inputs from agencies)