PCB 'optimistic' of India-Pakistan series in December

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Karachi, July 16: Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has said that he is still optimistic about the resumption of Indo-Pak bilateral cricket series in December.

"If you ask me I am optimistic at this moment that we will have the series but given the history of Indo-Pak relations one can't say for certain what will be the situation in a few weeks or months," Sethi said on a television channel.

PCB 'optimistic' of India-Pakistan series in December

Sethi was the chairman of the PCB when the Big Three formula of governance was adopted by the International Cricket Council and it also led to India and Pakistan signing a 'Memorandum of Understanding' to resume bilateral series which have remained suspended since 2008 after the Mumbai terror attacks.

Sethi said that he was also optimistic because according to his sources when the foreign secretaries of both the countries met this year, they both agreed that while the old issues and conflicts between the two neighboring countries will remain the best way to keep on having channels open for talks and discussions was to play cricket.

"The foreign secretaries agreed that cricket was one important way of keeping the channel open for talks and improving relations. That is why I am optimistic that the governments of Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi also want the cricket series to take place," he added.

Despite the MoU the two boards are yet to formally confirm that the series will be held in December although the PCB has made it clear that it is proceeding ahead with groundwork and the series will be played in the UAE.

Pakistan will host India in December as part of the six series MoU which is applicable until 2022 under the new future tours program system of the ICC.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan himself has twice visited India in recent times and met with BCCI and key government officials in a bid to convince the governments to clear the series.

Sethi also confirmed in response to a question that the ICC and some member boards had verbally/informally discussed the possibility of he (Sethi) not becoming the ICC president and instead a former cricketer from Pakistan getting this post.

"Yes verbally and informally these thoughts were conveyed to the PCB but eventually it was my decision to not become the ICC president and instead nominate our former captain Zaheer Abbas for this honour," he stated.

"Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan and Javed Miandad were the candidates for nomination to the ICC president's post."

PTI

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