Friendship series boosted relations: PCB chief

Published: Monday, April 19, 2004, 23:21 [IST]
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Karachi: India's landmark cricket tour of Pakistan, their first across the border in 15 years, will not only help Pakistan cricket but will play a key role in strengthening relations, an official said.

"India's historic tour will have multiple effects, both cricket-wise as well as relationship-wise and both countries can build on it in the future," said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan on Monday.

"The tour began against the backdrop of political tension, security fears and hostility ... but this landmark tour has removed all misconceptions," said Khan, a former foreign secretary and High Commissioner to India.

India last week capped the tour by taking the five-match One-day series 3-2 and three-match Test series 2-1, their first ever wins in both forms of the game on Pakistani soil.

"We did lose to a better team but off the field both the nations and people have won," said the Pakistan cricket boss.

The South Asian nuclear rivals opened a new innings of peace after Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's offered a "hand of friendship" to Pakistan 12 months ago.

That initiative paved the way for the resumption of road, rail and air travels, and the start of dialogue.

Cricket is the number one form of entertainment in both the nations, and over 8,000 Indians crossed the border to watch the matches.

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