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India agrees to play Pakistan in bilateral cricket series

India has agreed to play against Pakistan in a bilateral series in a revised draft of the Future Tours Program that would be discussed at ICC’s chief executive committee meeting in Johannesburg on October 1.

Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ejaz Butt told a press conference on Saturday that Pakistan had initially registered an official protest at the earlier draft of the new proposed FTP from 2012 onwards as it didn’t feature any matches against India.

“India had not scheduled any bilateral series with us in the proposed FTP so we didn’t accept it,” Butt said.

But he said in the new revised FTP draft sent by India and South Africa to the ICC a copy of which was sent to Pakistan, there were matches between the arch-rivals.

“India has scheduled bilateral series against us in the new FTP including Tests, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 matches which is good news for us,” Butt said.

India has suspended all bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan since the Mumbai terror attacks last November and also called off a scheduled FTP Test tour to Pakistan early this year.

Butt said besides Pakistan, other countries including Bangladesh had also expressed reservations over the proposed FTP floated by India, South Africa and Australia as it didn’t include many series between the stronger and weaker teams.

“We will further be taking up this issue when the ICC meeting is held on October 1 as we feel the FTP must be balanced. It is not possible for a FTP not to have bilateral series scheduled between Pakistan and India,” he added.

The former Test player said the purpose of the FTP was to have clear scheduling of series among Test playing nations.

“Whether a series is postponed or cancelled due to political reasons is another issue. But an FTP without any series against India was not acceptable to us,” he said.

Pakistan is also trying to use ICC and other channels to convince the Indian board to play a short one-day series against them at neutral venues next year.

Interestingly, media reports in India said that the Indian government has made it clear to the cricket board not to allow Pakistani players for any playing or coaching assignment in India until further orders.

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