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11 October 2013

'Pakistan–India Cricket Series likely in 2014'

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By Rohail Khan

Great news for Cricket lovers across the world. Najam Sethi, interim Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has expressed confidence that a bilateral series with India could be held next year.

"I have got assurances that next year we could have a bilateral but for this year this is not on our agenda with India," Sethi told the media during the logo unveiling ceremony of the Pakistan and South Africa series in the UAE. He said he planned to visit India soon to start discussions with the Indian cricket officials for a bilateral series.

Sethi said Pakistan had been told by the government to lay stress on convincing international teams to tour Pakistan, and a bilateral series with India was high on this agenda.

"We also realize that revival of international cricket is very important for us and we have already started working on those lines and we are also working out plans for our premier league next year," Sethi said. "Everyone knows that even cricket ties with India are dictated to by the political relations between the two countries and I am confident we might see a bilateral series next year," he said.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister and Cricket enthusiast Shahbaz Sharif, commented: "We will prove to the world that under the current circumstances the country is quite capable of holding international events and I will ask the PCB to immediately invite any international team to Pakistan.

"We will provide all kind of security to our distinguished visiting team," Sharif said. "Pakistan is in dire need of international cricket events, so the PCB should launch full efforts," he added.

India has not played a full bilateral series with Pakistan since 2007 although it invited Pakistan for a short series in India last December.

Determined to re-build cricket relations with neighbouring India, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is hoping to persuade the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) to host a tri-series later this year when the officials from the two Boards will meet during an Asian Cricket Council conference.

"There is a strong chance that the BCCI might propose to have a tri-series sometime in December in India with Pakistan and Sri Lanka and the PCB is ready to accept this invitation," one source said candidly.

These developments are like “fresh breeze” to cricket lovers across the world.

[Rohail Khan, Canadian-Pakistani, is a senior banker, media advisor, social activist, and philanthropist. He can be reached at: rohailkhan00@gmail.com]

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