Status quo remains in India-Pakistan cricket

For the record, the much anticipated meeting between the Board of Control for Cricket in India officials and Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore proved to be “mere courteous” and “no serious cricketing issues” were discussed during an hour long meeting here on Wednesday.

But on ground, the chances of witnessing another India-Pakistan bilateral series is almost over for now. The only place where these two countries can engage in cricket war would continue to be in ICC-conducted tournaments as the government has given signals of maintaining the status quo for now.

India’s chances of honouring the 2014 MoU with Pak board to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023 thus seem to be bleak.

However, the big question then is “whether Pakistan team would be welcomed in India to take part in 14th Asia Cup to be held here in June 2018. Being defending champions, Team India would be keen to repeat the feat but then BCCI knows that Asia Cup is conducted by Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and not the ICC.

“Going by the past experience, BCCI would certainly require permission from the government before inviting Pakistan. And till the permission comes, even conducting Asia Cup is a big question mark,” a senior Board official told.

The last time India hosted Asia Cup was back in 1990-91. Even when the Cup was awarded to India in 2015 during the ACC meeting in Singapore, BCCI secretary then was clear in his statement that it would have to sought government clearance to host the tournament which also involves Pakistan participation.

On the issue of conducting dope tests by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), BCCI apparently has made it amply clear during the informal discussion that “there has not been any instance in last decade or when World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has expressed its unhappiness over compliance of the same.”

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and General Manager (administration and game development) Ratnakar Shetty, who are considered to be authority on this issue, have made it clear that this is an issue between WADA and Board. “It is prerogative of the world agency to decide which agency should conduct dope tests and regulate India’s cricketers at international or domestic levels”.

It is important to mention here that ever since BCCI entered into WADA agreement in 2008, a Sweden-based International Doping Tests and Management (IDTM) has been collecting samples of Indian cricketers in domestic tournaments and no complaint of any sort has been received for any non compliance.

“The samples were tested at an overseas laboratory for first years. And from 2011-12, blood samples have been tested at the WADA-accredited National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) in Delhi,” said the official, adding: “More than 200 cricketers have been tested in and out of competitions since 2013-14 season. These numbers are more than any other cricket playing nation.”

DNA has reliably learnt that Ministry is also of the view that “let WADA come out publicly if it has any issue in this regard”.

However, BCCI has decided to discuss this issue amongst all its members during the upcoming AGM in December.

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