Former player says Pak-India series 'crucial' for Asian cricket

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Lahore, Dec.5 : India should undertake their January-February tour of Pakistan as it is 'very important' for the future of cricket in Asia, claims former Pakistan Test cricketer and selector Shahfqat Rana.

Talking to Daily Times here, Rana said both countries should play their forthcoming series to show solidarity and give message to the terrorists that attacked Mumbai last week that such 'cowardly acts' cannot scare the people of the region.

He, however, said: "if India refuse to tour Pakistan, then this would hurt not only our relations but also cricket, it would mean that we have given in to terrorists."

The Daily Times quoted him as saying that cricket "has built bridges, has averted wars on several occasions and has brought people of both countries closer. People love and worship cricket, so it would be a great loss if there is no cricket between the countries."

Shafqat said the Mumbai attacks had derailed the peace process between India and Pakistan, but added that a cricket series can normalise things.

He also said that shifting the series to a neutral venue would set a wrong precedent and moreover it would be a huge financial loss for the PCB. He said Pakistan badly needed cricket because the country had not played a single Test this year and were anxiously waiting for the India series.

"The cancellation of this series will also hurt World Cup 2011 to be jointly hosted by Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh," he concluded.

ANI

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