Pakistan news June 5, 2012

PCB chief meets politicians to discuss India series

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Following PCB chief Zaka Ashraf's trip to India last week where he met several Indian leaders, he discussed the possibility of a bilateral series between the two countries with senior politicians in Pakistan.

In India, Ashraf had met with BCCI officials and also outgoing Pakistan ambassador Shahid Malik, and political leaders like Sharad Pawar, who is also the ICC president, Arun Jaitley, a leading opposition party leader and senior BCCI functionary, and Rajiv Shukla, the IPL chairman who is seen as being close to the Congress party which heads the ruling coalition.

"They all (Indian leaders) supported our positive intention to build up a relationship and revive the cricketing ties with each other," Ashraf told a press conference in Islamabad. "What I feel is that we will be able to play each other this year in any available slot."

He returned to Pakistan on Saturday and was due to brief media on Monday afternoon in Lahore but cancelled it to make a quick trip to Islamabad, where he met with senior political figures in the government before speaking to the press at a local hotel. Ashraf is close to Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari, who is also PCB patron, and he also holds a key position in the Pakistan Peoples Party central executive committee.

India and Pakistan have not played each other in a bilateral series since December 2007. It is India's turn to tour Pakistan, but the country has not hosted an international series between two Full Members at home following the Lahore terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in March 2009. Bilateral ties between India and Pakistan have been frozen since the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. Pakistan, however, travelled to India to play in the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup.

Talks of a revival of Pakistan-India cricketing ties began when Ashraf requested Zardari to take up the issue with the Indian government. A meeting between the head of the states in Delhi in April provided more impetus to the talks with indications that the Indian government had no objections to the resumption of cricket between the two countries.

Ashraf, who had taken over from Ijaz Butt last October with Pakistan cricket facing a host of issues, called his India tour a successful one. "Reviving the relationship with India was the toughest task but the job is nearly done," he said. A final decision on a series between the two teams is likely to be taken in Kuala Lumpur, where the ICC's board of directors meets later this month.

He however ruled out the perception that only Pakistan was insisting on a bilateral series while India had little interest in it. "They want to play with us - that is the point we both agreed and have been discussing on the sidelines of ICC meetings in last many months.

"It's not like we are begging to play and depending on them. It's about the relationship that is eventually linked up with playing each other. The relationship with India is very important at the top level. Other than that there are minor issues like exchange of junior level teams, women's cricket team and participation in the IPL which will all be sorted out."

Malik, the outgoing ambassador in India, also called for a series between India and Pakistan. "I hope that the cricket bilateral series between India and Pakistan resume soon," Malik told reporters in Delhi. "There is a desire on the part of the leadership of both countries that this start."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manoj.verma on June 8, 2012, 9:34 GMT

    Why PCB is dying to play with India.....?

  • dummy4fb on June 7, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    i dont mind india pak not playing , but once started anything should not stop sporting ties.

  • dummy4fb on June 7, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    india vs pakistan > england vs australia Any day any time anywhere.

  • tanstell87 on June 7, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    Another option would have been a tri series in Sri Lanka in month of July...India is touring Sri Lanka in last week of July...so it would have been better if the ODI series between Sri Lanka & Pakistan was scheduled later & been converted into tri series with India as 3rd team....tri series with India-Pakistan & Sri Lanka would have treat to watch...it was norm back in late 90's for Sri Lanka to host tri series in month of July...i dont understand why tri series were scrapped entirely by all cricket boards...even Australia scrapped it after 2008 only to play one this year...many will agree with me that a tri series is a better bet than bilateral series where most of series are won in 1st 3 games & rest 2 are dead rubbers...!!

  • tanstell87 on June 7, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    i feel one off test match will be more entertaining than an ODI or T20.....the only bowler to trouble Sachin Tendulkar in last few years has been Saeed Ajmal & it would be fantastic to watch this two battle....even for that matter Sehwag & Gambhir against Ajmal & Umar Gul would be treat for fans....Sachin in last leg of his career will have one final chance to play against Pakistan in a test match...but i sincerely hope they should host this match somewhere in west zone where due & rain doesn't affect the match...!!

  • bala2rahul on June 7, 2012, 2:12 GMT

    Please play a ONE OFF test instead of odis and t20s. It has been an eternity since we saw test. the possible dates are November 1-5, December 26-30 or January 3-7. please play a test match instead of limited overs.

  • fahumyhana on June 6, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    they should play every year a series and it should be like ashes series well done ashraff

  • Romenevans on June 6, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    Should make it a big event that will continue to decades and name it like "The Vengeance" or something to make it dramatize.

  • neerajprasher on June 6, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    they should play tri series in srilanka india pak will be great

  • dummy4fb on June 6, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    if it will happen all world enjoy. i think its responsibility of ICC that pak vs ind series necessaries for asian cricket .....ICC should and try hard for series hope it will in future

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