ECB offers to host India-Pakistan Test series
Bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan has dried up due to political tensions between the two countries  •  (AFP/Getty Images)
Bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan has dried up due to political tensions between the two countries • (AFP/Getty Images)

THE England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has offered to host men’s Test cricket between Pakistan and India in an attempt to end the long wait for a bilateral series between the two sides.
Pakistan and India have not played men’s cricket against one another – outside of multi-team events – in any format since January 2013, and their last Test match was played in December 2007.

Martin Darlow, ECB’s deputy chair, has been in Pakistan for England’s ongoing T20 international series and has floated the idea to PCB chair Ramiz Raja during his visit. It is a further sign of the ECB’s attempts to rebuild relationships with the PCB after England’s last-minute withdrawal from a scheduled two-match series in Pakistan last year.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the PCB is unlikely to take up the offer. It has made significant progress in bringing international cricket back to Pakistan after staging “home” games in the UAE for a number of years, and playing at a neutral venue would risk undermining some of that.

The PCB has hosted two Tests in England before, drawing a two-match series against Australia one-all in 2010 with games at Lord’s and Headingley. But relationships between the boards deteriorated after Pakistan’s series against England later in the year was marred by the spot-fixing scandal.

Moeen Ali, England’s captain, said the prospect of a Test between the two teams on English soil was an “awesome” prospect. “That would be brilliant,” he said. “It’s a shame that they don’t obviously play each other unless it’s a World Cup or an ICC event but they’re two great teams and two massive playing nations.

“With the viewing (figures) and all that, it would be one of the biggest games because it’s not been done for a very long time. It would be a great game because Pakistan have a really good bowling attack as well as India now, and India have a great Test side. It would be really good.”
The two sides could, theoretically, meet in the World Test Championship final at Lord’s in 2023 if they win the majority of their remaining fixtures in this cycle.

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