I do hope the prospective return of competitive cricket between India and Pakistan isn’t scuppered at the last turn.
The governments of both countries have been discussing the possibility on a regular basis and for reasons you will all know, it is a delicate subject, which deserves a careful, steadfast approach. It is a decision that would transcend beyond just the game of cricket. On a much wider scale, it is an opportunity for sport to show its unifying capability against heavily stacked odds and I believe a December tour by Pakistan to India would be a positive step forward - providing the terms are right for both countries. But that is a potential sticking point.
The options to resurrect cricketing ties are, of course restricted. After the attacks in Mumbai in 2009, India will not go to Pakistan or play them at a neutral venue; so India is the only possible venue - a fact that brings the financial implications firmly into focus in discussions that are already extremely delicate.
For me, India must make allowances in this regard. All international series are home and away over a period of time and if India are unable to travel to play Pakistan in an offshore Venue - and the rights or wrongs of that are not the issue here - I believe a formula should be found that allows Pakistan to share in some of the revenue from a series in India because as things stand, they have no opportunity to generate revenue from a return tour by India.
It is reported that the Pakistan Cricket Board is determined to negotiate a revenue share for what would be the first bilateral series since 2007. It could be a contentious issue for India’s negotiators to reconcile but everyone should stand firm in their commitment to the series and agree a plan that is politically, socially and financially acceptable to both countries.
Pakistan’s agreement to play in India is, in itself a big step and now India should acknowledge the financial restrictions the situation presents for them and do the right thing. It would send out a massive message of reconciliation.
It appears from what Rajiv Shukla has said in the press that the Indian Government will be happy to give formal clearance to a short tour that will include three One-Day internationals and two Twenty20 matches. That alone, is a positive step but there is still some way to go because this tour, however brief, would resonate on so many levels. I know feelings will inevitably run high in some quarters about a renewed association but that is why strong nerve is required to make it happen.
Cricket has a chance to be part of a large step forward for India and its neighbours and I hope the authorities who hold that opportunity in their hands, use it wisely and don’t waste their chance.