Pakistan news May 26, 2012

Positive IPL news for Pakistan - Butt

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ijaz Butt, the former PCB chairman, has said that BCCI president and IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla has assured him that the Pakistan players will be readmitted into the IPL. Butt had met Shukla and former BCCI president Sharad Pawar last week in Delhi, in a meeting sanctioned by the PCB.

Butt had then briefed current Pakistan board chief Zaka Ashraf about the discussions at the Delhi meeting, as well as on all the past communications he had had with the BCCI during his three-year tenure as board chief that ended last October. The briefing was organised in view of Zaka Ashraf travelling to India on Saturday, for the IPL final in Chennai on Sunday.

"With the consent of the incumbent PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf, I met Rajiv Shukla and Sharad Pawar, and discussed the progress on the Indo-Pak cricketing relations," Butt told the Dawn. "In Delhi, Rajiv Shukla assured me that Pakistani players will be allowed to play in the next [2013] IPL edition."

During Butt's tenure, the relationship between Pakistan and India hit a low following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Following those attacks, bilateral ties between the neighbours were severed, and Pakistan players have not been a part of the IPL since. Also, a team from Pakistan was not invited to participate in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20). Earlier this month, progress was made on last point, with the BCCI - the CLT20's largest stakeholder - saying it would inform the tournament's governing council that it had no objection to a team from Pakistan participating. Later, Ashraf was invited to watch the IPL final by the BCCI.

"Both Rajiv and Pawar are my very good friends, and we are on good terms for a long time," Butt told ESPNcricinfo. "I, during my tenure [as PCB chief], was for the resumption of dialogues with the BCCI. There were some differences though, which I don't want to share or comment on, but in the end I had to try to have good relations with everyone.

"I have had a good meeting with Zaka during which we discussed a lot of aspects, and I have updated him on my talk with the BCCI officials. From what I can see, there is improvement at the government level and both countries are coming closer. So now it's up to both boards, they should engage in healthy dialogues to revive bilateral ties."

Ashraf before flying to India, spoke to the media, said he is hopeful of a fruitful visit. "Their invitation [to the IPL final] is a strong clue that both countries are moving towards having good relations," Ashraf told reporters at the Lahore airport. "This is rare, in the past no such invitation was extended. So I am hopeful that I will have a good meeting with the BCCI officials on the sidelines of the IPL final regarding the revival of bilateral ties."