Pawar to push for restart of Indo-Pak series

PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf said, “I asked Mr Pawar to support the two Boards and he said that the government always wants the cricketing relations should be revived."



New Delhi: He may rue not being able to visit Agra to see the Taj Mahal due to a nationwide strike, but Muhammad Zaka Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), rounded off his “very successful” visit to India with a one-to-one meeting with ICC president Sharad Pawar here on Friday.

Ashraf, who was in India on BCCI’s invitation to watch the IPL final in Chennai last month, said he requested Pawar, also the union agriculture minister, to assist in resuming the India-Pakistan bilateral series.

Also on Friday, Ashraf, on his maiden visit to India, met IPL governing council chairman and Parliamentary affairs minister Rajeev Shukla to get some clarifications on the modalities of Sialkot Stallions’ participation in the Champions League T20 in October. The CLT20 governing council has invited Pakistan’s national T20 champions Stallions in a path breaking move.

“My visit to India has been very fruitful and very successful. I wish the relations of our countries are further strengthened and they lead to the revival of the cricketing ties,” Ashraf told MAIL TODAY . “I’m carrying fond memories of my visit. All the people I met were very courteous and gave me a lot of respect. All of us were very positive and very friendly,” he pointed out. “I could not see the Taj Mahal because of the Bharat Bandh. Anyway, when I come the next time, I’ll try to visit both Agra and Ajmer sharif.”

Ashraf said he requested Pawar during his meeting to use his good offices, both at the ICC and in the government, to help in restarting the bilateral series that was last held four-and-a-half years ago.

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“He said that the Indian government too feels the bilateral series should be revived. And the Prime Ministers of the two countries have said that their the governments support the resumption of bilateral series,” he emphasised.

“I asked Mr Pawar to support the two Boards and he said that the government always wants the cricketing relations should be revived. He asked me to let him know whatever we — BCCI president Mr N Srinivasan and me — decide,” he said.

Ashraf, who was accompanied by PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed on his Chennai leg, had two “satisfactory” one-to-one meetings with Srinivasan there, and said that both chiefs made “many pledges” to take the issue forward.

The PCB chairman said that a short series comprising a few ODIs and T20 Internationals could break the ice this year before the Test series is played. He said the “breaking news” could come in a month or two.

“We (the two Boards) have got support on both fronts: we have a good understanding at the Board level, and the governments too have supported us on the revival of the bilateral series,” Ashraf said.

Ashraf also met Shukla on Friday and sought a few clarifications on the compositions of the teams that would compete in the CLT20 from October 8-28. The PCB chairman was apparently under the impression that only domestic players would comprise the teams.

“I raised this point with Mr Shukla, that how players could play for his national teams and then represent their franchisees too. I felt it’s not true representation, unless all players in the CLT20 are locals. I feel all players should be locals,” he said. “He (Shukla) said that’s the way the CLT20 has been structured. I also appreciate that it’s too late to change that.”

Sialkot, the first team from Pakistan to play in CLT20 since the launch of the tournament in 2009, will have to go through the qualifying round. “We discussed amongst other things the modalities of Sialkot’s participation in CLT20 as that’s an important aspect,” Shukla told MAIL TODAY .


Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2012. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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