Bari determined to resume bilateral ties with India

A day after he was appointed as the new COO of the PCB, Wasim Bari made it clear that organising bilateral series with India tops his priority list.

updated: September 08, 2009 15:37 IST
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A day after he was appointed as the new chief operating officer of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Wasim Bari made it clear that organising bilateral series with India tops his priority list.

Bari, a former captain who represented Pakistan in 81 Tests and 51 one-day internationals, was named as the new PCB COO yesterday. He replaced Saleem Altaf who was removed by the Board's Governing council members last week.

Soon after his appointment, Bari said he was aware how important it was for Pakistan cricket to have bilateral series with India, if not at home then at neutral venues.

"We are definitely going to explore the possibility of having a bilateral series with India at neutral venues," he said.

"Any series against India is not only beneficial to us in terms of financial returns but also in terms of the popularity of the sport in the country," he added.

He said International Cricket Council's willingness to support any initiative between the two countries was a positive for the game.

Incidentally, the idea of holding a India-Pakistan bilateral series in England has already been floated and discussed between PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt and ICC President David Morgan.

Pakistan cricket suffered a loss of around USD 25 million when India pulled out of a scheduled Test tour early this year in reaction to the terror strikes in Mumbai last November by suspected Pakistani militants.

The new PCB COO said the financial benefits of playing India were immense and Pakistan's biggest source of income -- the sale of television rights -- depended heavily on organising regular bilateral fixtures with their neighbours.

The former captain was also optimistic about international cricket returning to Pakistan in future.

"It is a possibility and I am going to work on it. Even if we can organise one single T20 match against any team it will be the first step towards convincing teams to start touring Pakistan again," he said.

Bari, the then director of human resources, was coordinating on behalf of the PCB with the Punjab government and police officials when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore earlier this year, which led to a complete standstill of cricketing activities in Pakistan.

He said there were several options the PCB was considering to break the ice as far as inviting international teams to the strife-torn nation was concerned.

"We might even invite a world eleven team to play a T20 match in Karachi," he stated.