The former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) head, Najam Sethi, has said that he continues to remain hopeful about the recommencement of the Indo-Pak bilateral cricket ties later this year in December.
"If you ask me I am optimistic at this moment that we will have the series but given the history of Indo-Pak relations one can't say for certain what will be the situation in a few weeks or months," Sethi said as he spoke on a television channel.
It was during Sethi’s term as the head of PCB that the International Cricket Council implemented the Big Three method of governance. This new formula resulted in Pakistan and India endorsing a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ through which bilateral series, which have been adjourned since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, would be reinstated.
According to Sethi’s sources, in a meeting earlier this year the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan agreed that despite the conflicts and grievances which have existed between the two nations since their inception, the way forward lay in bridging gaps through playing the sport adored in both nations that is, cricket.
"The foreign secretaries agreed that cricket was one important way of keeping the channel open for talks and improving relations. That is why I am optimistic that the governments of Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi also want the cricket series to take place," he said.
However, despite Sethi’s unbridled optimism and the MoU, the two official bodies have not formally confirmed a bilateral series though PCB for its part has announced that it has commenced with the groundwork and that the series will be held in the UAE.
The stipulations of the MoU are applicable till 2022 and they state that there are six series which must be held between the two nations under the new future tours program system of the ICC. Pakistan plans on hosting India in the UAE in December as part of these six tournaments.
Current PCB chairman, Shaharyar Khan, in his quest to convince the governments to permit the series, has visited India twice and spoken with the BCCI and key government officials.
Sethi also reconfirmed the rumours that the ICC and certain board members had verbally deliberated the possibility of him (Sethi) not being made the ICC president and of instead giving the position to a former cricketer from Pakistan.
"Yes verbally and informally these thoughts were conveyed to the PCB but eventually it was my decision to not become the ICC president and instead nominate our former captain Zaheer Abbas for this honour," he stated.
"Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan and Javed Miandad were the candidates for nomination to the ICC president's post."
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