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Sports Minister Vijay Goel rules out India-Pakistan cricket series

Vijay GoelNew Delhi: Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Monday ruled out a bilateral cricket series with Pakistan even as top officials from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were scheduled to meet in Dubai later in the day to discuss possibilities of a bilateral series.

The Sports Minister made it clear that the Indian government will not allow resumption of bilateral cricket series as long as Pakistan continues to sponsor cross-border terrorism.

"The BCCI should come up with a suggestion or proposal in this regard only after consulting the government. I had said earlier also that the possibilities of bilateral series with Pakistan is very remote," Goel told reporters on Monday.

"As long as Pakistan continues to sponsor terrorists, it will not be possible to have sporting ties between the two countries. Terrorism and sports will not run side by side," he added.

India and Pakistan, however, will continue to play each other in international tournaments.

The arch-rivals from the Sub-continent will meet each other in a group clash of the upcoming Champions Trophy in Edgbaston, Birmingham on June 4.

"As far as multi-lateral events are concerned, we have no control over those. So the two countries will continue to play each other in such tournaments," Goel said.

The two arch-rivals last participated in a bilateral series in December 2012 when Pakistan visited India for a limited overs series that included three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 Internationals.

India has not played Pakistan in a full bilateral series since 2007 when Pakistan visited India to play five ODIs and a one-off Test match.

However, worsening political ties and intermittent violence on the border has stalled any further bilateral cricket between the two countries.

Recently, the BCCI had also urged the ICC not to put the arch-rivals in the same group in global tournaments.

The two boards had signed an agreement to play six bilateral series the first of which was originally scheduled to take place in 2015.

According to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Future Tours Programme, the Indian team is scheduled to play Pakistan in a bilateral series later this year.