Former Pakistani cricketers hail revival of India series (Lead)

July 16th, 2012 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) The announcement of revival of sub-continental cricketing ties has not gone down well with former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who has questioned its timing, but former Pakistani players have given it a huge thumbs up.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Monday that Pakistan will play three One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals in December-January. The two countries last played in a bilateral series in 2007-8.

Pakistan batting great Zaheer Abbas said watching the series will help his countrymen forget about other problems existing in the country.

“Both the countries should be playing every year or so. The news that they would be playing now in December has made me very happy. People in Pakistan are very happy. The best way to forget all our problems is to play and watch sports. They are all eagerly waiting for the contest,” said Abbas.

“India have become a great cricketing power while Pakistan at the moment are not playing at home. Our team is not as strong as it used to be, but India brings out the best out of us,” he added.

Former captain Aamer Sohail found it hard to hide his excitement.

“I am very excited about it. It is great news that the ice between the two boards has melted. The emotions run high for the players in an Indo-Pak game. The 2011 World Cup semi-final was a one-off game. Now, the players will be geared up for the challenge.”

Pakistan’s former International Cricket Council (ICC) chief Ehsan Mani said India-Pakistan contests could only be good for the game.

“Any cricket between India-Pakistan can only be good for the game. Very unfortunate there was no cricket all this while. I am glad things are back on track and they would only get better from here on. Cricket is important in bridging barriers,” said Mani.

Earlier in the day, Gavaskar questioned the timing of the India-Pakistan cricket series and the need for reviving cricketing ties between the two countries when the Mumbai terror attack probe was still on.

“Being a Mumbaikar, I would say yes. What is the urgency when there is no cooperation from the other side (Pakistan)? When you get away with something you tend to do it again,” he said.

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