PCB to seek political intervention to save India series

November 14th, 2008 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Nov 14 (IANS) Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Izaj Butt is considering using the country’s diplomatic channels to save the home series against India.The unstable security scenario in Pakistan has caused countries to pull out of bilateral cricket series this year. Australia scrapped its tour to Pakistan earlier and then Champions Trophy has to be postponed to next year.

India is scheduled to arrive in Karachi early January to play three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 International. But reports from across the border are not very positive, claiming Indian government is unlikely to clear the tour because of security fears.

Recently, the Indian government blocked the tour of the country’s junior hockey team to Pakistan at the last minute, citing safety apprehensions.

Sources said that PCB will soon be taking this matter at the diplomatic level to stop India from cancelling the cricket tour.

A top PCB official had said that Pakistan will be ready to host India at neutral venues like Abu Dhabi in the ‘worst-case scenario’.

Butt, however, is against the idea of allowing the Jan-Feb series to take place at neutral venues and is planning to use his political connections to convince President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to play a role in saving what is a crucial series for Pakistan cricket.

The PCB chief is a close relative of a senior minister in the PPP-led government.

Sources said that Butt is trying to line-up meetings with Zardari and Gilani next week to brief them about the importance of the series for Pakistan cricket and why it has to be played here rather than being cancelled or held at neutral venues.

This week’s suicide attack at the entrance of a sports stadium in Peshawar made matters worse, raising a big question mark over the chances of India’s tour.

The country’s cricket officials are expecting that the money-spinning series will bail out the PCB from the financial crisis it faced due to Australia’s pull out and postponement of Champions Trophy.

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