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Pak PM's visit raises hopes for better cricket ties

Bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan have always been influenced by which way the wind of political relations between the two neighbours is blowing.

cricket Updated: May 26, 2014 16:27 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Bilateral cricket ties

Bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan have always been influenced by which way the wind of political relations between the two neighbours is blowing.

After a lull in bilateral matches between the two teams due to cross-border tension, things seem to be looking up as the BJP-led government prepares to assume office.

With Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepting the invitation to attend Monday's swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as PM, hopes are rising that it would have a positive impact on the common passion of people on either side of the border.

"Whenever the heads of two countries meet, every domain improves. Our Prime Minister has a great passion for cricket. He was himself a first class cricketer," Amjad Hussain, Director, Media Coordination and Implementation, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), told HT from Lahore on Saturday. "He has deep interest in the game. Of course, cricket will absolutely be among his priorities."

India last hosted Pakistan in a Test series in 2007-end, before the Mumbai attacks the following year led to the severing of bilateral matches.

With the terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March 2009 halting international cricket in Pakistan and the Indian board refusing to play bilateral games at a neutral venue, matches between the two teams have effectively been reduced to International Cricket Council tournaments.

The BCCI did host Pakistan for a short limited over series in India in January, 2013, after clearance by the Indian government.

The PCB has announced that it has signed an MoU with BCCI to stage six series between 2015 and 2023 although the Indian board is yet to confirm.

BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said improved political atmosphere should help cricket ties too but the board would be strictly guided by the government. "India-Pakistan cricket is usually subject to certain directions that are provided by the government," he said. It is clear the board would watch the political developments to assess the situation. "We would always like to go with the government policy."

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