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WION Spotlight | Melbourne raring to host India-Pakistan test series 

MelbourneWritten By: Shastri RamachandaranUpdated: Dec 30, 2022, 05:46 PM IST
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FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Australia v England - 2013/14 Commonwealth Bank Ashes Test Series Fourth Test - Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia. Photograph:(Reuters)

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If Melbourne has reasons to yearn for hosting an India-Pakistan Test series, the same reasons and more may be cited by the two South Asian cricket powers for matches to be played only in their countries. 

The Melbourne Cricket Club is very keen to host a Test series between arch-rivals India and Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Should that happen, it would be historic, as the world’s best-known rivals have not played a test series in the last 15 years. 

Reports here are that MCC is pressing Cricket Australia (CA) to keep lobbying the International Cricket Council for India and Pakistan to play a test series here. It is for CA to host the matches. The Australian government is also backing the effort. 

If Melbourne has reasons to yearn for hosting an India-Pakistan Test series, the same reasons and more may be cited by the two South Asian cricket powers for matches to be played only in their countries. 

Cricket does not get any bigger than an India-Pakistan match. The political tensions that have precluded a Test series on home turf after 2007 would only charge a Test match with more excitement. An India-Pakistan cricket match is a turbo-charged gladiatorial event that is unrivalled as spectacle, sport, business, money-spinner especially for all those involved including media and a crowd-puller of staggering proportions. All these make for a potent war-like mix that gives the countries, the players, the crowds, the fans, the tycoons, sports icons and even the political leaders a high that makes it an unmatched blockbuster. 

And, Australia got a taste of this in October last when the two teams played the T20 World Cup match at the one-lakh-capacity MCG, watched by a record 90,000-plus fans. No one could get enough of the event, the atmosphere, the noise and the thrill that came with every ball. 

All the above are exactly the reasons why India and Pakistan would like to see their Test matches played in their own countries. Pakistan has made it clear that while it would be happy to play India anywhere, its board is firm that the contests should be either in India or Pakistan. The argument is why should the fans, stakeholders and cricket fraternity be deprived of a great contest, and all that flows from it, at home. 

Unlike Pakistan, India is keeping its cards close to its chest. In fact, there is no compulsion for India at this stage to take a position on if, when and where cricket’s two fiercest rivals should stage their Test series. There are scheduling problems because there is no room for the clear three weeks required for a three-Test series until 2027. A three-week window in June-July next year falls out of the cricket season in Australia. India and Pakistan have two weeks clear in Dec-Jan 2025-26, in early Dec 2026 and Jan 2027 in the 2023-27 calendar. 

Of course, if India and Pakistan want it and their boards agree to hold the test series on neutral ground, then these tentative schedules can easily be recast to hold the matches in Melbourne.  

(Disclaimer: The views of the writer do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. Nor does WION or ZMCL endorse the views of the writer.)

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