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Pakistan Still Hopeful of Cricket Series With India

by AFP


PCB chairman says rival nations’ cricket boards will meet in Dubai in a few days.

Cricket chiefs in Pakistan are still hopeful of resuming ties with India despite a meeting between officials of the two boards being targeted by Hindu extremists in Mumbai.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan was due to meet Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Shashank Manohar on Monday but the meeting was postponed after members of the rightwing Shiv Sena stormed the Mumbai office in protest at the dialogue.

But Khan said he was still hopeful of a positive outcome. “It was a nice gesture from the BCCI to invite us and they were positive about the series before this unfortunate and condemnable situation came,” Khan told AFP from Delhi by phone. “I hope the meeting will be rescheduled in Delhi, if not we will meet in Dubai in the next few days,” said Khan. “I am still hopeful of a positive response.”

India and Pakistan have not played a full series since 2007 after New Delhi stalled all bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan after the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. India had blamed militants based in Pakistan for the attacks, which left 166 people dead, most of them foreigners.

Pakistan did tour India for two Twenty20 and three one-day internationals in December 2012 but even that tour failed to revive the full series.

The rivals, however, signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which they agreed to play six series between 2015-2023, all pending clearance from the two governments. The first of that series comprising of two Tests, five one-day and two Twenty20s is scheduled for December and January in the United Arab Emirates.

Khan, who also met BCCI vice president Rajiv Shukla in New Delhi on Tuesday, said there were various avenues open for discussion. “We have various options to discuss but the definitive answer will come only after meeting with Manohar and I am quite hopeful it will be positive,” said Khan, also a former foreign secretary and high commissioner.

Indian media reported that India wanted a tri-series, also involving Bangladesh—to be played in India or Bangladesh—with Tests to be played at a later stage.

Khan ruled out Pakistan’s withdrawal from the World Twenty20 series to be held in India in March and April next year. “No, I don’t see that and hope things will improve by then,” said Khan, responding to calls from former Pakistan players to pull out of the ICC event. “Our stance has always been that cricket and politics should be kept separate and we maintain that stance,” said Khan.

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