Starved of bilateral series against India,Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Zaka Ashraf today said the PCB is ready to bear the logistical cost of playing against the arch-rivals as well as other countries.
Indo-Pak bilateral cricket ties,which had been snapped after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks,are set to be revived this December with a short ODI and T20 series.
Ashraf said the PCB was more than willing to bear the cost of organising more such series.
“I have always maintained that revival of bilateral series is a step forward in the right direction. My relationship with BCCI president N Srinivasan has been very cordial. I have told him that we are ready to play India anywhere in the world even in neutral venues,” Ashraf said at an interaction at the Pakistan team hotel here today.
“We can even pay the rent for using the facilities and have more matches against India and other nations. An India versus Pakistan series has a lot of economic relevance. The kind of passionate cricket fans that are there in two countries,the viewership always doubles when they are pitted against each other,” he added.
“Just after Pakistan beat South Africa,I was informed that within an hour,all the tickets for the match were sold-out. That proves my point,” Ashraf stated about the clash between the arch-rivals today.
He also thanked India’s foreign minister S M Krishna for taking special initiatives so that Pakistan fans can come in large number to watch the series slated in December.
“The two governments have been working in tandem after the announcement of series and one is covering all areas minutely.”
“Mr Krishna has been very helpful after we requested him about our fans being permitted to come in big numbers to watch series in India. When I told the Indian media in Delhi that we will have a bilateral series,no one believed me and now it’s a reality,” Ashraf said.
Asked about Pakistan players participating in the IPL,he smiled and said,”If the bilateral series is on,can IPL be far behind?”
“In fact,it is a very small issue which will get sorted out. The day is not far when you will find Pakistani players in IPL and also the Indian players will be playing in the Pakistan Premier League.”
An industrialist,who also doubled up as a banker at one point of time,Ashraf attributed his success in the past one year to his administrative abilities.
“People think that I am banker but that’s only a part of profession. I am businessman and handling administration come naturally to me.
“If there has been minimum number of controversies in PCB,I would like to credit it to the disciplined system that I have tried to bring in.
“When I was given charge of a bank,it had incurred huge losses. I turned the loss-making institution to a profit-making one. I was successful in minimising the non-performing loans.”
The Pakistan team has looked like a unit and Ashraf said that he has told the boys to remember three things that Muhammed Ali Jinnah had said.
“According to Quaid-E-Azam (that’s how Jinnah is referred in Pakistan),three things are necessary — Unity,faith and discipline. I told the boys to remember that Mohammed Hafeez is your captain in the dressing room and on the field. He is your leader and everyone should listen to him.”