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Indian government is open to playing Pakistan but on neutral territory only: CoA Chief Vinod Rai

Pakistan last visited India for an ODI and T20I series in 2012-13.

Vinod Rai
Vinod Rai. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Pakistan are near to hosting two limited-over series against Sri Lanka at home starting this week. The twin series is finally going forward after uncertainty loomed over terror threat warning issued by the Sri Lankan government. Ten players also pulled out of the series citing security reasons. However, even if other teams start touring Pakistan for full-fledged series, will India go there in the near future?

Chief of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that runs the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Vinod Rai has said that the Indian government is open to playing Pakistan but only at neutral venues. The BCCI has cited the Indian government’s orders to repeatedly refuse sending the team to Pakistan on a bilateral series. India went to Pakistan in 2004 under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly after a gap of 15 years and their latest visit to the neighbouring country took place in 2005-06 when Rahul Dravid was the skipper.

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Pakistan came to play in India in 1999 after their historic win in 1986-87 and then came in 2004-05 and 2007-08. Pakistan last visited India for an ODI and T20I series in 2012-13. It has remained the last bilateral affair between the two countries that share poor relations in the political and diplomatic spheres.

The relationship between the two countries got so worse earlier this year in the wake of a suicide attack on a convoy of paramilitary forces in Jammu and Kashmir that the Indian side even threatened to boycott Pakistan at the ICC World Cup in England. However, the match eventually took place and India won the rain-curtailed affair to maintain their clean record against the arch-rivals at the showpiece event. That game remains the latest India-Pakistan game on the 22 yards.

“On playing Pakistan, I think there is a government policy…that you can play on neutral territory, and not on each other’s… We are very clear in our minds that on neutral territory we will play any country,” Rai was quoted as saying by the Indian Express when asked whether he was in favour of isolating Pakistan.

Rai was not in favour of boycotting Pakistan at WC

Rai also said why he wasn’t in favour of not playing Pakistan at the World Cup. “If we don’t play Pakistan (in the World Cup), we lose one point, two points, and that doesn’t matter,” he said. “But suppose Pakistan comes up in the semi-final and we withdraw. Isn’t that shooting yourself in the foot?

He said instead of shooting in the foot, the right step was to isolate Pakistan. By “isolation”. Rai meant the letter penned by the BCCI to the International Cricket Council urging the Test-playing nations to sever ties with countries that see terrorism emanating from their soil.

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