But India hint they will pull out
THE PAKISTAN Cricket Board are hopeful India will tour the country despite a Government official hinting it may not go ahead.
India are scheduled to tour Pakistan from January 6 to February 19 for three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 international.
A final decision has yet to be made but India’s sports minister MS Gill hinted it was unlikely their players would travel to Pakistan. The final decision, he pointed out, lies with the Indian government.
While the recent terrorist attacks on Mumbai have strained relations between the two countries politically, the cricketing world seems to have taken the full brunt.
“Is it possible for one team to arrive in Mumbai and indulge in mass murder, and have another team go and play cricket in the winter afternoon sun at Lahore, immediately after?” Gill told PTI.
Despite the clear hint at where the Indian team stand, Gill’s Pakistan counterpart Aftab Jilani said there was hope the series would go ahead.
“Cricket has a huge popularity in both countries and it will help ease out the tension if the Indian cricket team tours Pakistan next month,” Jilani told AP.
“The government of Pakistan does not want tension with India and if we play cricket with each other it will be a step in the right direction,” he said.
“If India is not satisfied with the security situation [in Pakistan] there’s a possibility of playing the series at a neutral venue. In my opinion sports should move on and we should play at whatever place it’s possible.”
PCB chairman Ijaz Butt also met with the ICC in the hope of salvaging the series but while acknowledging the sensitive nature of the row, admitted they could do nothing to force India to tour Pakistan.