Pakistan News

Fate of Indo-Pak series rests on Swaraj’s meeting: Shaharyar

Fate of Indo-Pak series rests on Swaraj’s meeting: Shaharyar

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Monday that the fate of the India-Pakistan series hinges on the outcome of a meeting between the Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Pakistan government officials later this week.

Swaraj will be in Islamabad for a one-day visit on Tuesday and the PCB chief claimed that he had informally been told that talks on cricket series between the two arch-rivals will be on the agenda of her meeting.

And Shaharyar said he was waiting on the result of that meeting before coming to a final decision on holding a shortened limited-overs series — of three One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals — in Sri Lanka later this month.

“Today was the last day for a final reply from the BCCI as we’ve very less time [before the series begins on Dec 15] to make logistical arrangements in Sri Lanka,” Shaharyar told reporters at the Gaddafi Stadium.

“But I received information that Swaraj is coming here with a proposal about the series so we’ve decided to wait for a couple of days before reaching a final decision.

“In the last three days there have been some good developments in the bilateral relationship between the countries as the two premiers first met in Paris [for a brief period] and on Sunday the security advisers meeting was held in Bangkok.”

The PCB and the BCCI signed a Memor­andum of Understanding last year for bilateral series but its fate has been hanging in the balance due to strained relations between the two neighbours.

Asked if the PCB would go to the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) if India didn’t play the series, Shaharyar said: “We’ve decided what we have to do legally in such a situation but I won’t disclose any detail of that at the moment.”

Shaharyar, however, was optimistic that the PCB would be able to make arrangements for the series if it received green signal from the government and rejected that any proposal to further shorten the series was under consideration.

“The PCB is still following the decision it had reached at the meeting with the BCCI in Dubai and no further proposal in that regard has been received from anywhere,” he said.

“The selectors have already finalised the team which will be announced once the series is confirmed.”

He admitted that it would be hard for the fans to get Sri Lankan visas in such a short time, but “the PCB would talk with the visa authorities to ensure visas are issued quickly”.

To a question, Shaharyar said that Moham­mad Amir “would not make his international return in the series against India [if it were to go ahead] as the paceman still had to improve his behaviour and attitude with other players of the team in the dressing room”.

Amir has returned from his spot-fixing ban in spectacular fashion with impressive performances in the Bangladesh Premier League.

Shaharyar also said that although he attended a farewell party in the honour of the outgoing Indian High Commissioner here on Sunday, there was “no talk on the issue of the Indian series” there.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2015

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