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Shaharyar asks ICC president to convince India

45In yet another attempt to get the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) to resume the bilateral series against Pakistan in the UAE during the month of December, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar M Khan held a meeting with ICC president Zaheer Abbas here on Friday, asking him to help persuade the Indian authorities for the important series during the legendary batsman’s tour of India that commences from Saturday.

PCB chairman, while speaking to Dawn, confirmed that the ICC president Zaheer visited the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday and held a detailed meeting with him in which the prime focus was on efforts which could be made to make the Pakistan-India series a possibility.

“Yes, I told Zaheer that the as ICC president he can use his influence to make the series happen as it is vital to promote the game of cricket between the two countries,” Shaharyar said. “I am hopeful that Zaheer’s role will be very effective in ensuring the two neighboring countries resume the bilateral series.”

During Shaharyar’s last tenure as the PCB chairman from 2003 to 2006, a number of Indo-Pak cricket series were played. However, after Shaharyar’s departure, none of the PCB chiefs including Dr. Nasim Ashraf, Ijaz Butt, Zaka Ashraf and Najam Sethi could succeed in the resumption of the bilateral cricket ties between the two countries.

In Zaka’s tenure, though, Pakistan visited India for a three One-day International and two T20 matches in 2013 but no Test matches were played.

Meanwhile, in an important development, ICC’s Chief Executive Dave Richardson issued a statement on Thursday where he accepted the importance of the Indo-Pak series giving the PCB a fresh hope that the series in the UAE could finally go ahead which, perhaps, prompted Shaharyar to hold the Friday meeting with Zaheer.

Richardson said in an interview to an Indian newspaper: “Once safety and security issues are addressed, and both parties (India-Pakistan) are satisfied, it will undoubtedly give Test cricket a fillip to see the India-Pakistan series revived.”

“This is, indeed, one of sport’s great rivalries and an iconic series which would generate an enormous amount of publicity for the game, not just in the two countries but across the world.”

The series against India is of prime importance for the PCB as it could generate huge revenues upto around US$ 50 million. However, the Indian government has not instructed the BCCI to resume bilateral sports activities with Pakistan as yet, neither in cricket nor in hockey, mainly due to the strained political relations between the two countries.