Batting for the resumption of India-Pakistan cricketing ties, PCB chief Shaharyar Khan last Sunday (10) revealed that Pakistan are ready to host a series in the UAE in December.
The series, which will involve three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, is part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two boards last year and Shaharyar is keen to abide by it.
“We resume India-Pak series in UAE. This is re-beginning of revival of Indo-Pak cricket. The series will start in December as per schedule and it will comprise three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s.
“The preparation is on in full swing. We have to overcome the final hurdle,” Shaharyar said after a 30-minute meeting with BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya.
“I’m very realistic. We still have seven months to go, we both have agreed, the preparations have begun. UAE are ready to hold Tests in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It will be followed by ODIs.
“We just need to sit down and sort out the minor hurdles,” Khan told reporters in the joint briefing at Dalmiya’s residence.
“We’ll put in our best efforts to start it as per schedule. This is our desire. There are certain hurdles that we’ve to cross in order to hold the series but they are minor ones and we hope to get over that.”
Dalmiya sounded hopeful about the resumption of cricketing ties but put the ball in the government’s court.
“We are hopeful of reviving the series. Only a few things need to be sorted out and obviously without common support we cannot go forward. Without the support of the home ministry and government, we can’t do anything. At the moment we find no problems. There is no reason for that,” said Dalmiya.
“I can’t furnish all the details at the moment. There are various things that need to be ironed out but that’s only sheer routine work.
“As far as India is concerned, we’re sure. We have to come forward. We have to look into it and once we do that we’ll be back in regular cricket.”
BCCI later issued a release about a “courtesy meeting” between Dalmiya and Shaharyar at the former’s residence.
“The PCB chairman congratulated Mr Dalmiya on becoming the president of BCCI, and recalled how cricketing relations had blossomed when they were the heads of their respective boards earlier,” the BCCI said.
“Regarding the resumption of bilateral cricket ties, it was felt that it is desirable to recommence such contact. After pro-active discussions, since there are certain matters that need to be addressed and considered, it was decided to take appropriate steps. The two boards would be in regular touch and review the situation,” BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said in the release.
“Both Mr Dalmiya and Mr Khan were hopeful that positive results would emerge from these discussions.”
Since 2007, India have not played a proper bilateral Test series with Pakistan, mainly due to political reasons, particularly after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks which led to the suspension of cricketing ties.
The two countries played one short series of three ODIs and two T20 matches in India in December 2012, but otherwise they have met only in ICC-organised events or the Asia Cup.
In the joint briefing, Shaharyar, who was accompanied by his wife, called Dalmiya an “old friend” and thanked him for playing a pro-active role in trying to resume the most sought-after rivalry in world cricket.
“I am grateful to Dalmiya for hosting me here. I am glad we could start the process again. As per MoU, there will be five series’ between the two countries in eight years. I have come here to personally congratulate my old friend on his becoming BCCI president and pick up the thread of cooperation.
“My relationship with him goes back a long way when he was BCCI chief and I was PCB chief and we jointly started the 2004 Indo-Pak series.
“All this was made possible due to the cooperation between the two boards at that time,” the 81-year-old ex-diplomat said.
He also recalled the tremendous success of the one-off ODI against India in the BCCI platinum jubilee match at Eden Gardens in November 2004.
“My good friend had wanted only Pakistan to come and play an exhibition match. I said we will do what is good for us and for them. We had a wonderful exhibition; 90,000 people watched. Everyone went back home happy,” he said.
“I’m happy with the discussions we had. We’re going to continue talking to each other to move the process forward in a bid to revive India-Pakistan cricket. I’m thankful to my old friend for the warm reception. We hope to take it from here,” he said.