Islamabad:Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday said he would personally request the Indian government to send its national cricket team for a tour early next year even as security fears are threatening to derail the trip.
The chances of India coming to Pakistan depend on the clearance of their government, which recently refused to send their junior hockey team across the border for a Test series on security grounds.
The Prime Minister's assurance came during a meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ejaz Butt, who apprised Gilani about the situation regarding India's tour.
"In a meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ejaz Butt, Gilani said as cricket was loved by the people of both countries, he would personally request the Indian Prime Minister to allow Indian team to visit Pakistan," an official statement said.
The Prime Minister said the Indian government would be provided assurance regarding the security concerns. Indian team is scheduled to arrive in January next year to play three Tests, five One-dayers and a Twenty20 match in Pakistan.
Gilani said cricket was the most popular sport of Pakistan and asked the PCB to take necessary steps for improving its facilities while chalking out an effective strategy for hunting new talent in all parts of the country.
Butt told the Prime Minister that he had inherited an organisation which was massively over-staffed with very high administrative costs, putting a severe burden on the financial resources of PCB.
The Prime Minister asked him to initiate re-structuring of PCB in order to run it professionally in line with other cricket boards of the world.
He emphasised that only competent professionals should be appointed at key posts and their performance be monitored on regular basis by giving them specific targets.
Butt also briefed Gilani about the amendments which are being proposed in the PCB's Constitution, aiming at streamlining the smooth working of the Board.
The Prime Minister said the elections of regional representatives should be conducted as per the manner provided in the Constitution.