India open to restoration of cricket ties: Verma
Published: Thursday, May 8, 2003, 23:55 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Indo-Pak thaw raises hopes of Asia Cup: ACC
New Delhi: The Indian government on Thursday said it was open to restoration of cricket ties with Pakistan but a decision could not be taken immediately. "We cannot make a commitment on playing with Pakistan now. But yes, if things move positively in all directions, cricket may follow suit," Sports Minister Vikram Verma told the Press Trust of India (PTI). "Things will not happen overnight. It is not as if the trains will start today and we will start playing cricket tomorrow. Relations will have to improve overall," he said. The Indian Board last week urged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to consider its request to resume bilateral matches with its archrival amid a thaw in relations between the two neighbours. Pakistan last month pulled out of the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka after the Indian government refused its team permission to play a scheduled Test series in Pakistan in protest at Islamabad's alleged support of militancy in Kashmir. The Indian team, however, is allowed to play Pakistan in multi-nation events, like the World Cup and Asia Cup. The two sides met in the recent World Cup in South Africa in March. India has not played a Test match in Pakistan since 1989, while Pakistan played three Tests in India in 1999-2000 despite threats from Hindu fundamentalists.