Pakistan's hopes of India series dashed

Any chance of a series is "over", Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan said, adding that his country's foreign office had conveyed to him that without talks on the cricket it would be "difficult" to arrange any series.

The last time India and Pakistan contested in a bilateral series was in 2012.   -  PTI

Shaharyar Khan has said that any chance of an Ind-Pak series is over.   -  AP

Pakistan's cricket chief said on Wednesday his hopes for a bilateral series with arch-rivals India had been dashed after a visit to Islamabad by India's external minister failed to yield any breakthrough.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had hoped Sushma Swaraj's visit to Pakistan for the Heart of Asia regional conference on Tuesday and Wednesday would open the way for a short limited-overs' series, agreed between the PCB and the Indian cricket board and due to be played in Sri Lanka.

But Pakistan media reported the cricket was not discussed. Swaraj's talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz yielded little in terms of the impasse when she made no refence to the series in a brief statement on Wednesday evening.

Any chance of a series is over: Shaharyar Khan

Any chance of a series is "over", PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said, adding that the foreign office had conveyed to him that without talks on the cricket it would be "difficult" to arrange any series.

India had suspended bilateral cricket with Pakistan in the aftermath of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on militants based across the border.

The two cricket boards agreed to break the deadlock by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last year under which they were due to play six series between 2015 to 2023, all subject to clearance from their respective governments.

The first series, originally due to be played in United Arab Emirates in December-January, comprised of two Tests, five one-day and two Twenty20 matches, but it ran into trouble over strained relations between the two countries since the start of 2015. Accusations of ceasefire violations led to the cancellation of a meeting between their security advisers in Delhi in August.

Raised hopes of revival in cricketing ties

But a recent thaw, with both prime ministers briefly meeting on the sidelines of Climate Change conference in Paris in November and subsequent talks between security advisers in Bangkok, raised hopes of a cricket revival.

Last month, the two boards agreed to play a short limited-overs' series of three one-dayers and two Twenty20 internationals in Sri Lanka after their heads met in Dubai, leaving the final decision to their respective governments.

Islamabad gave a go ahead to the series on November 26 but have been awaiting clearance from New Delhi ever since. Khan said the series could have netted Pakistan $50 million (five billion rupees). "We are disappointed that India did not honour their commitment," he said.