Ice broken,cricket ties with Pak may resume

For the first time since Mumbai attack,prominent Pak cricket team can be invited to play in India.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai | Published:May 12, 2012 9:52 pm

For the first time since the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack,a prominent cricket team from Pakistan could be invited to play in a tournament in India.

A working committee meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India approved a proposal in Chennai yesterday to extend an invitation to Pakistan’s domestic T20 champions,Sialkot Stallions,for the Champions League tournament being hosted by India in October. The proposal will be considered by the League’s governing council on May 28.

BCCI vice-president and Minister of State,Parliamentary Affairs,Rajeev Shukla said that extending the invitation was subject to approval of the Centre.

Since 26/11,bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan remain suspended and the only time the two teams have played each other on Indian soil was when Pakistan lost to India in the semi-final of the World Cup in Mohali last year. However,that was an International Cricket Council event. Players from Pakistan also participated in the first edition of the Indian Premier League. However,this too had ended following the Mumbai attack.

“We all know that a lot depends on the decision of the government rather than decisions between the two cricket boards,” a BCCI official said. “The BCCI has taken the first step to restore cricket ties between the two countries. The scenario seems positive for the participation of a team from Pakistan.”

The push to invite a team from Pakistan reportedly came from representatives of Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa,which are stakeholders in the Champions League along with the BCCI,during a meeting on Thursday. BCCI president N Srinivasan reportedly mooted the proposal during the working committee meeting that followed.

Pointing out that the final call would be taken by the League governing council,he said: “The BCCI has no-objection to having a Pakistan team. CLT20 is owned by BCCI,Cricket Australia,and Cricket South Africa.”

The Champions League is played between domestic T20 champions and runners-up of respective countries. Current Pakistan champions Sialkot Stallions are led by all-rounder Shoaib Malik.

Last month,the Sialkot cricket association had requested the Pakistan Cricket Board to push for inclusion of the team in the Champions League. Welcoming BCCI proposal,Malik,who is married to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza,told PTI: “It is a relief to hear that finally we will get a chance to compete with the best teams in the Champions League.” The Sialkot team would play like the Pakistan team in India,he said.

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