KARACHI: The invitation sent to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf to watch the IPL final is one of the steps to remove the widespread ‘misconception’ that India is against Pakistan, according to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president and the IPL chief Rajiv Shukla.
The BCCI, which approved Pakistan’s entry in this year’s Champions League, invited Ashraf to watch the final on Sunday, over a year after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was invited by his Indian counterpart to watch the 2011 World Cup semi-final between the arch-rivals.
The BCCI was accused of sidelining Pakistan with former International Cricket Council chief Ehsan Mani being the most vocal among other former administrators and cricketers.
“The invitation is a goodwill gesture from the BCCI telling the world that we’re not against Pakistan or trying to sideline the PCB,” Shukla told The Express Tribune. “We’ve also appointed umpires, commentators and coaches from Pakistan in the IPL which shows exactly that. Apart from that, officials from both boards are in constant touch and we share a healthy relationship.”
Revival of bilateral series depends on talks
Meanwhile, the IPL invitation has left the PCB chief excited and hopeful of a revival of bilateral series, one of Ashraf’s main targets since taking over from Ijaz Butt last year. Ashraf will meet the BCCI chief N Srinavasan but Shukla said that commenting on a revival will be premature.
“As far as resumption of the bilateral series is concerned, there may be some hurdles like the FTP schedule. But we’ll have to wait until the talks between the chiefs before thinking ahead.”
The BCCI official also refused to comment on Ashraf’s view that India could be asked to host the Pakistan-Australia limited-overs series for which the PCB still has no venue. Ashraf, earlier this week, confirmed that he will be speaking to the BCCI on the idea after Sri Lanka confirmed it was unable to host the series due to the inaugural edition of its Twenty20 league.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2012.
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