Cricket: Imran hails India-Pakistan cricket revival

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan on Tuesday hailed the revival of cricketing ties with India, saying the resumption of one of the world's great rivalries was good for the sport.

India on Monday invited Pakistan for a short limited overs series in December-January, the first bilateral encounter between the neighbours in five years.

India stalled cricketing ties with Pakistan in the wake of terror attacks on its commercial hub Mumbai in November 2008, which were blamed on militants based across the border.

"I welcome India's decision to revive cricket with Pakistan," Khan told reporters. "Anything which can bring both the countries to negotiations and normalcy is very good and we must appreciate that."

The thaw came after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari asked Indian premier Manmohan Singh to restore ties during a lunch meeting in New Delhi in April this year.

India also invited Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 champions Sialkot Stallions for the Champions League to be held in South Africa this year.

Khan, who captained Pakistan to World Cup glory in 1992 before forming his own political party -- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) -- said India and Pakistan playing each other was a boost for world cricket.

"The prospect of India and Pakistan playing against each other is a good news for international cricket because these matches are followed by millions across the world," said Khan.

Khan said the high tension in an India-Pakistan match made it special cricket.

"The Indo-Pak matches are special because of the high tension and whoever deals with that extreme pressure comes out winner," said Khan.

The two sides met in the World Cup semi-final in the Indian city of Mohali in April last year, with India running out winners by 29 runs.

"That semi-final in Mohali is a good example of the tension and the excitement. India committed a lot of mistakes in that match but they won because Pakistan did more mistakes in comparison and that's why they lost," said Khan.

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