Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- More Indo-Pak cricket in the offing

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 21:07 [IST]
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Karachi:International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani has hailed the revival of cricket ties between India and Pakistan, saying it has given the sport a boost.

"It is great they are playing again, because cricket was poorer without an India-Pakistan contest," Mani said during the One-day International between the two nations at the National stadium in Karachi on Saturday.

"It was long overdue and I hope the ties remain forever, since they benefit not only India and Pakistan, but the whole of Asia, in fact the entire world."

India are currently on their first full Test tour of Pakistan since 1989 following the Indian Government's decision to lift a three-year ban on bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan.

Mani, who hails from Pakistan, said the revival of Indo-Pak cricket will make the ICC stronger.

"Asia represent 40 percent of the ICC membership and a strong Asia means a strong ICC. I have no qualms about that," he said.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, who flew with Mani from New Zealand after an ICC meeting to attend Saturday's match, said there was more India-Pakistan cricket in the offing.

"We will play the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka in July and a proposal to revive the Asian Test championship is also on the cards," Dalmiya said.

The Asian Test championship, held in 1999 and 2000, was discontinued due to India's refusal to play against Pakistan.

Dalmiya also ruled out any immediate plans to play at neutral venues like Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

"As far as bilateral cricket is concerned we will be playing in each other's country and there is no question of playing at an offshore venue," Dalmiya said.

A One-day series between India, Pakistan and Australia in the Netherlands in August was planned only to enable the teams prepare for the Champions Trophy in England in September.

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