Thatscricket - Test Series - India's tour of Pakistan- 'Pak tour was an important step in restoring ties'

Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2004, 19:46 [IST]
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New Delhi:Indian Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani said the national cricket team's tour of Pakistan was an "important step" to restoring normal ties between the foes after India clinched a nail-biting One-day series.

India beat Pakistan by 40 runs to capture their five-match One-day series 3-2 late on Wednesday in the Pakistani city of Lahore, their first title win in Pakistan after five failed attempts between 1978 and 1997.

The series that many hope will give new impetus to a fledgling peace process between the nuclear rivals was part of India's first full Test tour of Pakistan since 1989.

The tour "has generated tremendous interest in the subcontinent," said Advani in Northern Chandigarh city where he was on a campaign stop for next month's general elections.

"It's a small but important step in restoring normal relations between India and Pakistan," the Press Trust of India quoted him as saying on Thursday.

India halted bilateral cricket with Pakistan two years ago amid tensions over Kashmir that has triggered two of three wars between them and almost sparked a fourth two years ago.

But relations have thawed lately following renewed peace moves and the cricket tour has rekindled one of the longest sports rivalries on the cricket-crazy subcontinent.

The South Asian rivals are engaged in peace talks and the cricket series is one of the initiatives to ease tension.

India now will try to overturn their record of never winning a Test match in Pakistan when the three-Test series starts in Multan on Sunday.

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