x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Cricket matches against India are big business

India's cricket team is in large demand, much to the chagrin of Pakistan, who would love to schedule more matches against their neighbour.

After a World Cup semi-final in Mohali that was watched by millions worldwide, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is desperate to resume cricketing ties with India.

Matches against India are big business. Hosting India can keep a board solvent, and the PCB can testify to that, having made more than US$20 million (Dh73.4m) from the five one-day internationals and three Tests India played back in 2004, their first tour of Pakistan since 1989.

That series opened the floodgates. India toured again in 2006, and Pakistan visited India in 2005 and 2007. In the space of less than four years, the two teams played nearly as much as they had in the previous two decades.

With the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, that brief purple patch came to an end.

India's proposed tour of Pakistan in early 2009 was scrapped, and the Sri Lankans who went in their place were targeted by militants in Lahore. No team has visited Pakistan since.

For the moment, India's itinerary makes an immediate resumption of the rivalry highly unlikely. After the IPL, they tour the West Indies and England.

Once they return in September, England will arrive to play five one-day games, followed by the West Indies for a full series. A tour of Australia follows, and according to the Future Tours Programme, Pakistan should then visit India.

A one-day series at a neutral venue such as Dubai could be shoe-horned into that schedule, but with the Champions League and IPL an integral part of the calendar, finding a window will be easier said than done.

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