Resumption of Pak-India cricket encouraging sign: Zaka


Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Mohammad Zaka Ashraf has found the resumption of Pak-India cricket ties as an encouraging sign to bring the people of the two countries closer besides serving as an effective medium to boost the economy of the region.
“It is a very healthy sign that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has officially decided to resume cricket ties with Pakistan after the approval of their government and we welcome this move,” he told newsmen at a news conference here on Monday at Gadaffi Stadium.
He said the Indian Board has been given a go ahead signal by their Government to play cricket in Pakistan and PCB welcomes this gesture. “It seems this Pak-India cricket series will surely take place later this year in December or January next year after a gap of five years.” Pakistan last visited India for a full-fledged cricket series in 2007 and since then both the countries have not played on bilateral basis. Zaka Ashraf said once they receive the official invitation from the Indian Board after which the necessary modalities regarding number of matches and venues will be decided with mutual understanding.
“We have to consider the comfort of the Indian Board in this regard (deciding venues) and I am optimistic that we will have a good understanding with them to decide the venues,” he asserted.
The PCB Chief praised the positive contribution of President Asif Ali Zardari for breaking the ice on cricket between Pak and India and said he (Zardari) put in his best to persuade India to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan as it was in the larger interest of both the countries.
“It is the result of our six months continuous efforts that finally we have reached an positive outcome and hopefully this series will help further improve ties between the two countries,” said PCB Chairman.
He underlined the importance of reviving cricket between Pak-India and termed it a step forward in bringing closer the people of both the countries besides boosting the economy of the region.
He called for revival of international cricket in Pakistan and urged the provincial governments to extend cooperation and all out support to PCB for ensuring fool proof security for the visiting teams.
“International cricket did not return to Pakistan due to security concerns and it is the responsibility of the provincial governments to make stringent security measures to ensure the safety of the foreign teams,” he said.
Chairman PCB termed cricket a national cause for everyone saying that it was nothing to do with the politics as it was the most liked and popular sport of every political party and the people of the Pakistan. “It is not just a game, it is a passion in which ever one is involved and every one should contribute in bringing back international cricket to Pakistan.“
“It is not only the Federal Government to make efforts to bring back international cricket to Pakistan, it is also the provincial governments who should play their due role by giving firm assures regarding security and if they do so the sooner the international cricket will be back to our playgrounds.“
Zaka Ashraf said PCB was not being run on political basis nor it has any political agenda. “The PCB is endeavouring to safeguard the interest of Pakistan cricket and was committed in the overall development of the game,” he observed.
To a question, he said, the initial work to build an international stadium in Islamabad has started and the boundary walls are being constructed after which the construction of the project will be handed over to contractors.


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