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Pakistan ready to tour India for cricket revival

19 December, 2013

SHARJAH: Pakistan's interim cricket chief Najam Sethi on Wednesday reiterated his stance to revive ties with archrivals India, saying his team was ready to go across the border.

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India stalled all bilateral ties with Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, which New Deli blamed on militants based in Pakistan.

Pakistan toured India for a short limited overs series at the turn of this year (December-January) but that could not revive the ties, regarded as better than the Ashes played between Australia and England. Being the financial hub and one of the most sought-after teams, India have a busy cricket schedule – a fact which do not allow them to play a long series with arch-rivals. Sethi said Pakistan were more than willing to tour India.

"If they are not coming to Pakistan, we are willing to tour them," Sethi told reporters on the sidelines of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka one-day international here. "India owe us two home series as per the Future Tour Programme and India-Pakistan series is the most sought after, millions of people are waiting for it." Sethi, who took over in July this year, hoped things will shape up after general elections in India in May next year. "I think the Indian board is waiting for elections in their country and our prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) is hoping that if his Indian counterpart (Manmohan Singh) tours Pakistan then the matter of cricket will also be raised," hoped Sethi.

India last toured Pakistan in 2008 for the Asia Cup and their last bilateral visit to Pakistan was in 2006. Sethi said Pakistan would adopt a wait-and-see policy on touring Bangladesh where political situation is tenser since last week's execution of Islamic hardliner Abdul Quader Mollah. Sri Lanka, whose team is due to travel to Bangladesh on January 24 for two Tests, two Twenty20s and three one-days, have announced a security appraisal before the tour.

Bangladesh are due to host Asia Cup from February 24-March 7 and then World Twenty20 from March 16-April 6 next year – both under clouds. "It will not be our decision," said Sethi. "Asian Cricket Council will decide on the Asia Cup and International Cricket Council will take a decision on the World Twenty20, so we will wait and see on that."

End.