Pakistan proposes India Test series in December

The series will involve three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s

Kolkata: Batting for the resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties, PCB chief Shaharyar Khan said that Pakistan are ready to host a series in the UAE in December. The series, which will involve three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, is part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two Boards last year and Shaharyar is keen to abide by it.

"We resume India-Pak series in UAE. This is a re-beginning of revival of Indo-Pak cricket. The series will start in December as per schedule and it will comprise three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s. The preparation is on in full swing. We have to overcome the final hurdle," Shaharyar said after a 30-minute meeting with BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya here.

(Photo: PTI)

"I'm very realistic. We still have seven months to go, we both have agreed, the preparations have begun. UAE are ready to hold Tests in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It will be followed by ODIs. We just need to sit out and sort out the minor hurdles," Khan told reporters in the joint briefing at Dalmiya's 12 Alipore Road residence.

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"We'll put in our best efforts to start it as per schedule. This is our desire. There are certain hurdles that we've to cross in order to actually hold the series but they are minor ones and we hope to get over that," he said.

Dalmiya sounded hopeful about the resumption of cricketing ties but put the ball in the government's court. "We are hopeful of reviving the series. Only few things need to be sorted out and obviously without common support we cannot go forward. Without the support of the home ministry and government we can't do anything. At the moment we find no problems. There is no reason for that," said Dalmiya.

"I can't furnish all the details at the moment. There are various things that need to be ironed out but that's only a sheer routine work. As far as India is concerned we're sure. We have to come forward. We have to look into it and once we do that we'll be back in regular cricket," he said.

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Shaharyar also informed that even Bangladesh is keen to play host to an Indo-Pak tie. "I recently came from Bangladesh and BCB officials also said that why don’t you host the series here? They have also put forward their interest to hold India-Pak tie."

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Since 2007, the BCCI has not played a proper bilateral Test series with Pakistan due to political and other reasons, particularly after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.

India suspended all series with Pakistan after the terrorist attacks. The two countries played one short series of three ODIs and two T20 matches in India in December 2012 but otherwise they have met only in ICC organised events or the Asia Cup.

BCCI later issued a release about a "courtesy meeting" between Dalmiya and Shaharyar at the former's residence. "The PCB Chairman personally congratulated Mr. Dalmiya on his becoming the President, BCCI, and recalled how cricketing relations had blossomed when they were the heads of their respective boards earlier," the BCCI said.

"Regarding the resumption of bilateral cricket ties, it was felt that it is desirable to recommence such cricket contact. After proactive discussions, since there are certain matters that need to be addressed and considered, it was decided to take appropriate steps. The two Boards would be in regular touch and review the situation," BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur said in the release.

"Both Mr. Dalmiya and Mr. Khan were hopeful that positive results would emerge from these discussions," he added.

In the joint briefing, Shaharyar, who was accompanied by his wife, called Dalmayia an "old friend" and thanked him for playing a pro-active role in trying to resume the most sought-after rivalry in world cricket.

(Photo: PTI)

"I am grateful to Dalmiya for hosting me here. I am glad we could start the process again. As per MoU, there will be 5 series between the two countries in 8 years. I have come here to personally congratulate my old friend on his becoming BCCI President and pick up the thread of cooperation,” he said.

"My relationship with him goes back a long way when he was the BCCI chief and I was PCB chief and we jointly started the 2004 Indo-Pak series. All this was made possible due to the effort of Dalmiya and the cooperation between the two Boards at that time," the 81-year-old former diplomat said.

He also recalled the tremendous success of the one-off ODI against India in the BCCI Platinum Jubilee match at the Eden Gardens in November 2004.

"My good friend had wanted only Pakistan to come and play an exhibition match. I said we will do what is good for us and for them. We had a wonderful exhibition match. 90,000 people watched that match. Everyone went back home happy," he said.

"I'm very happy with the discussions we had. We're going to continue talking to each other to move the process forward in a bid to revive India-Pakistan cricket. I'm thankful to my old friend Mr Dalmiya for the warm reception he's given him. We hope to take it from here," he said.

He said that an India-Pakistan contest is bigger than the Ashes. "Let me tell you the India-Pak series is more important than any series in world cricket. It is even more important than the Ashes," he said.

"During the India-Pakistan World Cup clash in Adelaide, the tickets were sold out within 20 minutes, such is the craze of this series," he added.

The PCB chief said the situation was improving rapidly in Pakistan and the PCB was hopeful of hosting India may be after two years time. "Hopefully not this year or two years hence but later on we hope to be able to have an Indian team as in 2004 in Pakistan. So your people can come across and our people too come over here. This people-to-people contact will be the best thing to happen."

He further said ICC in its taskforce report on Pakistan cricket had mentioned the importance of the resumption of Indo-Pak rivalry. "You may see the report. It's written there that it's essential that Pakistan and India should revive their bilateral series for the interests of cricket as a whole.”

"We're constantly in touch with the ICC and they're welcoming it. The ICC report on taskforce in Pakistan has given the mandate on how to bring Pakistan back in the arena. ICC is fully in the picture and they want us to play," Shaharyar concluded.

( Source : PTI )
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