India-Pakistan rivalry is one of biggest witnessed in the world and even puts into shade the much older and hyped up Australia-England Ashes rivalry. However, it has been over three years now that the two sides have met each other for a bilateral series due to the tension on the border between the two countries. The last time the Blue Brigade went hammers and tongs with the Green Brigade was in December 2012 for a three-match ODI series. The One-day international series was won by Pakistan 2-1. Since then, India and Pakistan have only managed to lock horns against each other in an ICC tournament. Notably, BCCI Acting Secretary Amitabh Chaudhary gave a hint towards a possibility of a series between the two neighbouring nations. He said that if the Centre gives nod an India-Pakistan bilateral series will happen. “If the government agrees will make space for India-Pakistan bilateral series,” he said.
BCCI on Monday had a special general meeting after which Chaudhary made the crucial announcement. He even said that India will host Afghanistan for their first ever Test in 2019-2020 as Afghanistan earned their Test status alongside Ireland this June. “Afghans were scheduled to play their first Test in 2019 versus Australia but considering the historical relationship between India and Afghanistan, we decided to host their first Test,” said BCCI acting secretary. Afghanistan and Ireland were made full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in June, becoming the sport’s 11th and 12h Test-playing nations. Besides welcoming them into five-day cricket, the BCCI has extended a helping hand to Afghanistan on a number of occasions.
The team from the war-ravaged nation has hosted its home games in India, most recently the series against Ireland in Greater Noida. Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi became the first two Afghanistan cricketers to be bought at the IPL auction by Sunrisers Hyderabad earlier this year.
Another major announcement made by BCCI was that India will be hosting 81 matches across formats from 2019-2023, 30 more than the current Future Tours Programme, but the BCCI today insisted that the number of playing days per year for the ever-busy cricketers will decrease. The Future Tours Programme (FTP) was agreed in principle by the members at the meeting. The next FTP cycle at home will include high-profile series against England, South Africa and Australia.