PCB keen to resume bilateral cricketing ties with India

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 12, 2011 05:46 hrs

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is more than willing to go and play in India in a bid to resume bilateral cricketing ties with the arch-rivals, which have been suspended since the Mumbai terror attacks.

The Chairman of the Board Ijaz Butt on Friday said that they had even spoken to the government about going and playing in India if the opportunity arose.

"We are keen to resume bilateral ties with them and the Indian board has also given us in writing that whenever the governments give the clearance they will have no objection in resuming the ties. They owe us a series," Butt told the Geo Super sports channel in an interview.

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The Indian board (BBCI) suspended bilateral ties with Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 and cancelled a full tour to Pakistan in early 2009, causing millions of dollars of loss to the PCB.

Butt indicated that the issue of bilateral cricket ties was also on the agenda of the meeting of the foreign secretaries of the two countries held recently.

"We are pretty hopeful and if nothing else we want to even start off by playing at a neutral venue. England has already said they would be willing to host the series," Butt said.

He also added that PCB was keen to play India because it would improve their financial health a lot.

"A series against India can earn us anything between 40 to 42 million dollars, which is far more than what we get playing against other countries. Plus, it is important for world cricket that these two countries play against each other regularly," he said.

The PCB Chief also said that the board was nearly bankrupt and had no option but to play its 'home' series at neutral venues after the militants attack on the Sri Lankan team in March 2009.

"We would have gone bankrupt but playing matches at neutral venues bailed us out and our broadcasters were also very supportive. Today thankfully the board is in a stronger financial health and it will become better after the World Cup."

Butt also spoke in detail on the spot-fixing scandal, blaming the three banned players -- Salman Butt, Muhammad Aamir and Muhammad Asif -- for letting the country, the board and their team down.

People blamed the PCB for not doing anything for the players when the spot-fixing allegations first broke out against them in August last year on the tour to England, but the chairman of the Board clarified that it did everything it could for the trio.

"The truth is when Scotland Yard started its investigations we gave the players full support including legal help and the Pakistan High Commission also got involved but they were not honest with us and misled us by denying everything.

"Later we found out that one of the players had made 140 calls and sent SMS-es, while another sent 120 SMS-es and calls after the incident first took place. They let us down and disappointed everyone a lot."

However, Butt disclosed that the board was still trying to get the ICC to review the five-year ban on 18-year Aamir because of his age.

"The anti-corruption tribunal said that the ICC needed to review its existing anti-corruption code of conduct laws and this will be discussed at the three-day executive board meeting of the ICC in Dubai from February 14," Butt said.

"There is a one in a million chance that the board will agree to review the ban on Aamir but we will discuss this issue in light of the tribunal recommendations."

Butt said he hoped that Pakistani players will learn a lesson from the bans imposed on the trio and this will serve as a deterrent to them.

"The message is loud and clear that there is nothing to be achieved by getting involved in these things. We had lined up contracts worth millions for Aamir and he had a great career ahead of him but he wasted it all because of his greed."

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