Pak seeks matches with India to revive cricket
Published: Thursday, May 29, 2003, 0:39 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Karachi: Pakistan is seeking a home-and-away series against India as part of a drive to bring international cricket back to the country, officials said on Wednesday. "We are getting the much-needed return of international cricket to Pakistan this season and if we are able to hold a home-and-away One-day series with India it will give a real boom to cricket," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Ramiz Raja said. "It was unfortunate that we lost precious home cricket in the last two years but hosting Bangladesh, South Africa and possibly India and New Zealand will be a great compensation," said Raja, a former captain. Since the thaw in India-Pakistan relations initiated with the surprise "hand of friendship" offer by Indian Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee last month, talks of a revival in cricket links between the two hostile nations have picked up. The Indian government, which severed sporting links with Pakistan in 2000, is to decide on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)'s request to play Pakistan in two One-day games, one in each country, in September this year. BCCI also hopes to tour Pakistan for three Tests and as many One-dayers in February- March next year. "We know the BCCI has sought permission for the One-day games and our foreign office has told us to expedite the revival of ties," Raja said. India last toured Pakistan for a One-day series in 1997 but has declined to undertake a Test tour since 1989-90. Pakistan played three Tests and a tri-series in India in 1999 despite threats from Hindu fundamentalists. Raja meanwhile said he hoped New Zealand will tour Pakistan for five one-day matches in November this year. The terrorism threat kept foreign teams away from touring Pakistan causing the PCB losses of up to $ 25 million.