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India and Pakistan to Play Bilateral Cricket Series in Sri Lanka

After months of uncertainty, India have agreed to play a short bilateral series with Pakistan in 'neutral' Sri Lanka. The arch-rivals will play three ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals from December 15.

The confirmation of the series was announced on Thursday after the Pakistan Cricket Board and Board of Control for Cricket in India obtained green signal from their respective governments.

Giles Clarke of England and Wales Cricket Board is understood to have played the role of a mediator. The Englishman is also the head of the International Cricket Council taskforce on Pakistan. Clarke has always been in favour of a series between the sub-continental giants.

Pakistan and India have not played a bilateral series since 2007. Cricketing ties were stalled in the aftermath of 2008 terrorists' attacks in Mumbai. India and Pakistan have not played a full cricket series since 2007.

Previously BCCI had denied playing a series against Pakistan.

In recent weeks, India and Pakistan had differed over the venue of the series. While Pakistan were adamant that India should play at their adopted 'home', United Arab Emirates, BCCI said the series would only be possible if Pakistan visited India.

According to the international calendar agreed by the two Boards, it is Pakistan's turn to play hosts. According to the ICC Future Tours Programme, the original scheduled involved two Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals.

The two countries, bitter rivals on and off the cricket field, signed a memorandum of understanding in 2014 that Pakistan would host their next series after India had staged their previous two meetings (2007 and 2012).

In recent months, the India versus Pakistan series became increasingly uncertain due to political differences between the governments. PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said last week in Abu Dhabi that the final decision to play India has been left to Pakistan's cricket-loving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

After initial reluctance to play cricket due to a "climate of terror", India started showing positive signals after Shashank Manohar became BCCI president for the second time in October. The Nagpur-based lawyer, who is now ICC chairman, was always keen to honour the MOU despite opposition from certain sections of the Board

Source -NDTV

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