Series with India could be split in two parts


LAHORE – The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that the details of bilateral cricket series with India would be worked out sometime in June after directives from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani. PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt said that he was hopeful that details of the series would be worked out in June. “We have got positive signals from across the border which is a good sign for Indo-Pak cricket,” he said. Butt, however, said that since the Prime Minister has instructed the PCB not to plan the series at any neutral venue, the Indian team would be invited to play in Pakistan.
“The series may not be held at a neutral venue because the Prime Minister wants us to play host to the Indians and we are confident that we can organise the series safely and successfully,” Butt said. “What we need to know work out is find a suitable time slot from the busy schedules of both teams to organise this series.”
Butt also said that due to the packed calendar of the Indian team, the series could be split into two parts — the T20 and One-day matches could be played at one time, followed by the Test series later.
He said that since the Prime Minister was taking personal interest in the matter, foolproof security would be provided for the proposed series. “We are also hopeful that if we can host India in Pakistan. It will also pave the way for other teams to tour Pakistan,” he added. India cancelled a tour to Pakistan in early 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks and suspended all bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan. But the ice broke recently when Prime Minister Gillani visited Mohali on the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and they watched the World Cup semi-final together. Butt said the World Cup match and the presence of the two Prime Ministers had broken the ice and they were clear indications that both governments wanted revival of cricketing ties.
AFP adds: Several Indian newspapers cited unidentified government sources as saying the question of precisely when and where the first cricket series between the rivals might take place would be decided by the two national cricket boards. Although the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams have played each other in international and regional tournaments in recent years, their last series was in 2007-08, when the Pakistani team visited India. In India, the Mint newspaper quoted one government source as saying India’s cricket team would tour Pakistan next year, with a return series in India the year after.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said it had yet to be formally notified of the decision to resume cricket ties. “We have not received any government announcement as yet, so the board has not discussed the matter,” BCCI chief administrative officer Ratna Karshetty told AFP. I.S. Bindra, principal adviser to the ICC, said the resumption of direct cricket ties was a “welcome step.” “It’s a nice thing not only for India, but for world cricket as a whole that Pakistan will come into the mainstream of world cricket,” he said. Former Indian all-rounder Madal Lal also welcomed the move, but said the authorities would have to guarantee the safety of players touring Pakistan. “It is always good for the game when India and Pakistan play each other,” Lal said. “But the Indian government must be very careful. They must ensure that the situation is conducive for cricket in Pakistan.”