Taking a step forward in the “cricket diplomacy” that began with the talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani, in Mohali during the recent cricket World Cup India-Pakistan semi-final, India has decided in principle to resume bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan.
Government sources said India and Pakistan may play each other as early as next year and, if everything goes well, the Indian cricket team will visit Pakistan first and the cricket team of that country will pay a return visit.
However, the time of the visit, the match venues and other logistical issues are still to be worked out by the cricket boards of the two countries, the sources said, pointing out that the hockey teams of both countries are also playing each other later this year.
The last bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan was held in 2007-2008 when the Pakistani team had visited India. No international cricket team has visited Pakistan to play any match after the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3, 2009, when six members of the visiting team were injured. The security situation in Pakistan continues to be a matter of serious concern for international cricketers.
Reiterating India’s stand that Pakistan needs to take action against the terror infrastructure operating from its soil, a government official said, “We have not forgotten the Mumbai attack and it is still our priority to bring to justice the perpetrators of the crime.” Asian Age