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India's move step towards reviving bilateral ties - PCB

Umar Farooq

May 12, 2012

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

Shahid Afridi congratulates Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag after the hard-fought game, India v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali, March 30, 2011
Subhan Ahmed: "Once things go successfully in the Champions League we can definitely move forward with our junior and senior teams." © Getty Images
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The PCB has 'welcomed' the step taken by the BCCI to include a team from Pakistan in Champions League T20 this year. This could lead to the revival of cricketing ties between the two countries, Subhan Ahmed, the PCB's chief operating officer said.

"It is indeed good news for Pakistan, and we welcome India's positive move," Ahmed told ESPNcricinfo. "We have been discussing the matter, how to revive our cricketing ties with each other, for many months. This is the significant move in that direction.

"For us it isn't a surprising move, but a much awaited one, as we have been holding discussions over the last two months. They [the BCCI] want to take gradual steps, and once things go successfully in the Champions League we can definitely move forward with our junior and senior teams."

Ahmed's reaction comes in the wake of the BCCI's announcement on Saturday that it would inform the tournament's governing council that it had no objection to the participation of a team from Pakistan.

The PCB had been pushing for the inclusion of a side from Pakistan, the only major Test-playing nation to not have had teams in either the qualifiers or the main round of the CLT20 since its inception. Sialkot were invited to the inaugural edition of the tournament towards the end of 2008, but it was put off after the terror attacks in Mumbai in November that year.

Those attacks strained political relations between India and Pakistan and, subsequently, the cricketing ties between the BCCI and the PCB. India and Pakistan have severed bilateral ties since, and Pakistan players - with the exception of Azhar Mahmood in the ongoing edition - have not been a part of the IPL.

Ahmed said that both cricketing and diplomatic channels were used to ease the tension. "The government has always been very supportive and has been playing its role when it needed," he said. "I think playing each other is always beneficial for both countries. We have laid out several proposals to revive the cricketing ties and the previous time we met, during the ICC's [exectuive board] meeting, we had a productive meet up [on the side], where several possibilities were discussed."

The Sialkot Regional Cricket Association (SRCA) is also pleased that their team, which is the domestic Twenty20 champion, is likely to play in the cash-rich league. "We were looking for the opportunity, as we have a team that has the calibre to compete in the Champions League," Zulfiqar Malik, SRCA President, told ESPNcricinfo. "It [ensuring participation] wasn't working out, but now things appear to be coming together. I appreciate India's move, which will ultimately help both countries to build a good relationship."

The Sialkot captain, Shoaib Malik, said this could be a chance for players from Pakistan to showcase their talent. "It is a relief to hear that finally we will get a chance to compete with the best teams in the Champions League," Malik said. "The ice has finally been broken. It is a good opportunity for us to convince the Indian people about the great talent in Pakistan cricket."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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Posted by maddy20 on (May 14, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

@Lillianthomson For a side that has no remarkable feats to boast of, criticizing the work ethic of the side that has won 3 Worldcups is ludicrous. Understamd that every great side has a transition phase. We are now rebuilding our side with talented youngsters and we will be back on topsoon. I do not expect you to understand this coz a side that lurks nesr Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the rankings is always in transition phase!

Posted by ani. on (May 14, 2012, 6:04 GMT)

@shaer khan CL participation will financially benefit Pakistan players. no more salman , asif and amir episodes . getting jail terms in foreign countries

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (May 14, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

@Sher Khan . You must be a kid to forgot that IPL was not there when India won the first title in 2007. And India were the last team to play T20 bcz of frequent request from NZ and Auz. Just do some research before commenting. You may think your tournament is superior just like I think our Ranji Trophy games are superior than all test cricket. :P... yet to find a medicine for jealousy!

Posted by   on (May 14, 2012, 3:37 GMT)

Champions league place a great news, i ll want our 2 teams, as we have a fantastic T20 talent and tournament....but this champions league place must not be at the time and cost of PPL.

Posted by maddy20 on (May 13, 2012, 19:18 GMT)

@Sher Khan Not surprised to see pessimist statements like these admist the sensible comments. The players can surely use the extra dough and cricket fans can use some extra entertainment. As for the pessimists, well I don't know and don't even care! In the end you are only remembered for the tournaments you were crowned champions. Nobody cares about who came second or who came third!

Posted by Desihungama on (May 13, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

Why the heck PCB at first placed conceded to equate terrorism with cricket? What the heck cricket has to do with political indifference, unless you turn into one? It's just a game and let it played.

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (May 13, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

this league idia from different coutries best demaestic teams is better than IPL

Posted by   on (May 13, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

yes indeed a very good move by BCCI. now its upto pak players to take advantage of this positive move and cement their chances of getting into some good IPL teams. and also not bad mouth india and indian people as Afridi did after the WC s/f loss. keep up the good work BCCI..

Posted by   on (May 13, 2012, 10:11 GMT)

A very good move indeed by BCCI. Let's keep our fingers crossed until it's confirmed totally. Good luck Sialkot Team!!!!

Posted by   on (May 13, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

To the Indians who think this will benefit Pakistan and not India, let me remind you of something - Pakistan has been the most consistent T20 team ever since the first T20 World Cup. They've been to two finals, narrowly losing one, winning the second, and made it to the semi of the next one before losing to Australia. That's without the IPL. Without the Champions League. So in essence, if you look at it from that perspective - without the IPL, Team Pakistan has performed better in every department of T20s than India who gets T20 practice. Perhaps the T20 tournament in Pakistan is superior to the IPL but without all the extra cash - because the quality and results of the Pak team is evidence of their system. So next time you think Pak players and a team won't benefit India and its playing culture in T20s - think again.

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