India may tour Pakistan in Aug, says PCB chief

Chennai, (Mail Today): The Indian cricket board has no problem in sending the national team to Pakistan but it has to be cleared by the government. If confirmed, the visit could take place as early as August, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf said on Monday.

An optimistic Ashraf said that his hope of India touring Pakistan emanates from his extremely “satisfactory” meeting with N Srinivasan, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), during the first One-Day International on Sunday night.

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Ashraf disclosed that several options were put on the table by both sides regarding the continuation of the bilateral series that resumed with the ongoing T20 and ODI series.

He said that there could be “surprises”, but didn’t elaborate. “I had a very good meeting with Mr Srinivasan and both sides were very positive and we are moving in the right direction.

“The BCCI says its team can tour Pakistan but it has to get clearance from the government. But now there’s a better understanding between the two Boards, and my personal understanding with Mr Srinivasan is on the right track,” Ashraf told MAIL TODAY after reaching New Delhi from Chennai.

“According to the FTP (ICC Future Tour Programme), India is scheduled to tour Pakistan. We have already toured India twice [2007 and 2012],” he said.

“BCCI wants to have some internal discussions and so does the PCB. But I said that our teams’ meeting [series] should not be limited to these five matches, and that it should be taken forward, and Mr Srinivasan agreed with me.”

Ashraf said that an India-Pakistan series at a neutral venue is ruled out as the BCCI said it doesn’t send teams to such venues as a matter of policy. Ashraf, who struck a personal rapport with Srinivasan when he was invited to watch the IPL final in May 2012, disclosed that he has extended an invitation to the BCCI president to visit Pakistan.

“The BCCI hosted a dinner for the PCB delegation after the first ODI in Chennai. It was a very nice gesture by them. And I have also invited Mr Srinivasan to Pakistan,” he said.

Ashraf said he would next be meeting Srinivasan either at the ICC Executive Board meeting in February or even earlier than that to discuss India’s tour to Pakistan.

On the issue of Pakistani players’ possible participation in the IPL, Ashraf disclosed that he deliberately didn’t raise the topic because of the more important issue of bilateral series.


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