The news of a bilateral series between India and Pakistan has been welcomed this side of the border – in stark comparison to the mixed reactions surfacing in India.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf confirmed that it was their efforts in the last six months that bore fruit and his predecessor, Ijaz Butt, who took a lot of boards by the horn, expressed his delight after hearing the news. Butt failed to convince teams to visit Pakistan after the Lahore attack in his tenure but showed his pleasure at the development.
“It’s a very good sign,” Butt told The Express Tribune. “I must congratulate the PCB and the Indian board for this. It will be a huge breakthrough for the fans in the sub-continent as well as other parts of the world. And it will also bring positive results for our cricket and the PCB in many ways. The series-revival with India will also help us bring back international cricket in Pakistan in the future.
“This series, likes the Pakistan-India ties in the past, will help the PCB overcome its financial crisis as well.”
‘Pakistan, India should play every year’
Meanwhile, former captain Zaheer Abbas, while welcoming the BCCI’s confirmation, said that both countries should play on a regular basis.
“Cricket has always played a huge role in improving ties between nations,” said Abbas. “It will be good to bring these nations closer and will improve relations between the two countries. Both teams can also improve relations between them by playing each other on a regular basis. In fact, they should play each other every year.”
A timely call: Sohail
Another former captain, Aamir Sohail, has described the breakthrough a timely decision.
“It was the need of the hour,” said Sohail. “Cricket ties between Pakistan and India are very important for the game. I see this series as a starting point and hope for a bilateral series on a regular basis.”
Misbah, Hafiz hail BCCI’s decision
Meanwhile, Pakistan Test and One-Day International captain Misbahul Haq and Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez welcomed the BCCI’s decision.
“People of both the countries were desperate for this,” said Hafeez. “It is good news for the fans and we are happy at the development.”
Misbah echoed Hafeez’s views on the development, adding that the players were looking forward to the series.
“The enthusiasts want to see action between these two countries,” said Misbah. “The series will definitely be a breakthrough for the game.”
‘Something is better than nothing’
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has also voiced his approval on the development but said that it would have been better if India had agreed to send their team to Pakistan.
“It is positive news,” said Afridi. “People from both sides want to see the series between the two countries. We have many fans in India and the same is true for Indian cricketers having a huge following in Pakistan. It would’ve been better if the Indian team had come to Pakistan but something is better than nothing.”
Former PCB chief Ijaz Butt
“I must congratulate the PCB and the Indian board for this. It will be a huge breakthrough for the fans. This series, likes the Pakistan-India ties in the past, will help the PCB overcome its financial crisis as well.”
Former captain Zaheer Abbas
“Cricket has always played a huge role in improving ties between nations. Both teams can also improve relations between them by playing each other on a regular basis. In fact, they should play each other every year.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2012.
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