On neutral territory we will play any country: CoA chief Vinod Rai gives big statement on India-Pakistan ties

Times Now

Times Now

Author 2019-09-24 01:30:47

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The Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai recently stated that the Indian cricket team will only consider playing against Pakistan at neutral venues. Both the countries haven't played a bilateral series since early 2013. Since then, both India and Pakistan have met only in limited matches; either during ICC events or in the Asia Cup due to the unhealthy political relations between both the neighbours.

In the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, in February 2019, there were calls for India to boycott their World Cup fixture versus Pakistan. Nonetheless, the match took place amidst heavy security where India trounced over the arch-rivals by virtue of 89 runs via DLS method at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

However, when it comes to bilateral series, Indian cricket has been adamant on the fact that they will neither tour or host the Men in Green in any format. In a recent interview, Rai said, "On playing Pakistan, I think there is a government policy…that you can play on neutral territory, and not on each others… We are very clear in our minds that on neutral territory we will play any country."

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This comes as a fresh blow to Pakistan cricket, who are gearing up to host a bilateral series at home later in the month. The Men in Green will play host to Sri Lanka in ODIs and T20Is, but many of the Islanders' key players have opted out from the tour citing security reasons.

In 2013, Pakistan had toured India which turned out to be the last bilateral series between both sides till date. In the three-match series, Pakistan had attained an unassailable lead but the then MS Dhoni-led side won the last contest to lose the series by 1-2. Since then, both sides have continued to play each other in ICC events or Asia Cup (T20I and 50-over format) but refrained from meeting in bilateral affairs.

Given the security concerns in Pakistan and poor political relations with India, it seems highly unlikely that cricket lovers will see the two rivals lock horns apart from major tournaments.

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