PCB rests its hopes on a positive email reply from BCCI

The PCB is banking on a positive response sent by BCCI to an email to salvage the forthcoming series with India scheduled to be held next year.

updated: December 12, 2008 11:56 IST
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The Pakistan Cricket Board is banking on a positive response sent by their Indian counterparts to an email to salvage the forthcoming series with India scheduled to be held in January next year.

PCB Chairman, Ejaz Butt is due to meet his Indian counterpart, Shashank Manohar in Chennai on Friday on the sidelines of the Asian Cricket Council meeting and PCB officials confirmed that discussions on shifting the series to neutral venues would be held.

"The Chairman had sent an email to (Shashank) Manohar last week in which he expressed his condolences over the Mumbai terror attacks on behalf of the board. He also hoped the Indian team would tour Pakistan on schedule but also mentioned the possibility of shifting the series to neutral venues," a senior official said.

The email sent to Manohar read: "Dear Shashank Manohar all of us here in Pakistan are very perturbed with the Mumbai incident. We are here even glad to note that England has taken a good decision to continue their tour of India. We now hope India will also agree to come to Pakistan for the confirmed series in January next year."

The mail also read: "Your visit to us will be secure and we have been assured by the authorities concerned of head of state level security arrangements for the Indian team. Your visit will certainly send a good message to the cricket lovers that daily life will go on in spite of such ugly incidents."

Butt also wrote in the mail: "If for some reason you do not get permission to visit Pakistan then we need to discuss on urgent alternative venues (offshore)."

In reply, Manohar said that the Indian board would be willing to discuss the Indian team's tour to Pakistan in Chennai.

The official said that with the political temperatures rising, PCB was now trying to salvage the series by shifting it to neutral venues.

"The bottom line for us is that we need to play international cricket particularly Test matches. It is a matter of great concern for us we have not played a Test this year," the official said.

But analysts say there is very little possibility of the Indian board getting permission from its government to even play against Pakistan at neutral venues given the current scenario in the region.

"Just today the Indian sports minister has reportedly said India should not tour Pakistan in these circumstances.

And politically and diplomatically if India decides to go ahead with its cricket series with Pakistan anywhere it knows this would greatly reduce the pressure it is building on Pakistan to take action against the alleged terrorist networks," one analyst noted.

The positive thing for Pakistan is that cricket authorities in the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka are all willing to host the Indo-Pak series even at a short notice.

Butt is also due to meet the Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Giles Clarke in Chennai to discuss the possibility of more international cricket for Pakistan.

Giles has offered that Pakistan can play India in England next summer.