Pakistan-India series: ‘Fans to get good news soon’

PCB chairman Butt hopes terms and conditions can be finalized.

Fawad Hussain August 28, 2011

KARACHI: There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel after all as Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, expressed optimism at the prospect of arranging a bilateral series with India.

Butt, who visited India recently and met with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials, hinted at a breakthrough during discussions with his counterparts.

While there have been meetings to discuss the arrangement of the bilateral series, India, with their packed schedule, are unlikely to create a window.

However, the BCCI Vice-President Rajiv Shukla had earlier announced that the board had received the go-ahead from the Indian government and with the PCB already eager to hold the series, Butt’s visit seems to have achieved a lot.

Relations were strained after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 and while the two cricket-crazy nations have clashed with each other in various tournaments, fans have been deprived of a bilateral series. However, the arrangement got a lifeline with the new Future Tours Programme (FTP) of the International Cricket Council which shows a series between the two countries in March-April next year.

‘Series to be finalised soon’

The PCB chief said that his meetings with BCCI officials would help in reviving bilateral ties.

“I held discussions with Indian officials,” Butt told The Express Tribune. “Both countries have shown their eagerness for the revival of the series. We’re working on finalising terms and conditions and fans will hear the good news soon.”

‘Talks of neutral venue premature’

Meanwhile, the PCB chairman termed reports that suggest a neutral venue as a possible location for the bilateral series as premature.

“We are still at a stage of finalising things. Confirming anything on the venue would be premature.”

Shukla also expressed unawareness on the reports of a neutral venue.

Creating window is a tough task

Meanwhile, despite the breakthrough, revival in the near future appears slim due to the tight international schedule of the two teams.

India are unlikely to fit in the series this year due to a hectic schedule while the scheduled series is also clashing with the Asia Cup.

“This is why the two boards are not confirming anything,” said a PCB official. “They’re working on the creation of a window for the series as soon as possible.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th,  2011.