Miandad cuts through Thackeray's defence

Published: Friday, July 30, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray, who is known for his strong views on Pakistan cricket team playing in Mumbai, on Friday sprung a surprise by meeting former Pakistan cricket coach Javed Miandad, who called him on at his residence in suburban Bandra on Friday morning.

The meeting was a courtesy call, Miandad, who was joined by former Indian captain Dilip Vengsarkar, said.

"I like Javed as a cricketer and cannot forget the lofty six he hit off Chetan Sharma to win the Australasia Cup in Sharjah in 1986," the Sena chief, an avid cricket buff, quipped while speaking to newsmen at the end of the half hour meeting with the former Pakistani star.

Former India skipper and vice-president of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) Dilip Vengsarkar accompanied Miandad to the Sena chief's house.

Miandad termed his calling on the Sena chief as 'courtesy visit'.

Although posing warmly with Miandad in front of lensmen and TV cameramen who crowded the Sena chief's residence, the Sena chief minced no words when asked if the meeting signalled possibility of a Indo-Pak cricket tie in Mumbai.

"I am not opposed to cricket. But I am opposed to cricket ties between India and Pakistan due to what has happened between the two nations in the past... like Kargil," Thackeray said.

"But since Javed has come...I'll talk to leaders of my party and then decide," the Sena chief said.

He also nodded to Javed Miandad's statement that 'let us forget the past and think of the future'.

Earlier, speaking to newsmen, the former Pakistani skipper said his experience about the Sena chief was much better that what he had imagined.

When asked on his opinion about the Sena chief, Miandad said: "He likes cricket. Hope such meets continue in the future and will help improving relationship between the two nations."

MCA vice president Dilip Vengsarkar said he was in favour of holding Indo-Pak cricket ties in Mumbai provided the Sena chief permits to do so.

The Pakistani former cricketer, who coached the Pak cricket team till recently, is on a personal visit to India and had earlier called on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav at Lucknow.

Miandad also met Chetan Sharma, the former Indian medium pacer on whose last delivery at the Australasia Cup finals in Sharjah in April 1986, he hit a six when Pakistan needed just four runs to wrest the match.

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