Former Pakistan players welcome resumption of ties with India

Updated: Jul 16, 2012, 21:27 PM IST

Karachi: Pakistan cricket fraternity on Monday welcomed the announcement of resumption of bilateral ties with India, saying the on-field contest between the two nations was the "biggest spectacle" in world cricket.

India and Pakistan last played in a bilateral series in 2007 as they the cricketing ties between them froze following 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.

The BCCI today decided to invite Pakistan for a short ODI series in December this year.

Former Test captain Zaheer Abbas said,"It is something that should have happened earlier because when these two teams play the world watches and there is no bigger spectacle or advertisement for the sport."

Another former Test captain and also a senior PCB official Javed Miandad said he was delighted to hear about the BCCI invitation.

"I am really happy because I know for a fact that the PCB Chairman has been making hectic efforts to convince India to play a bilateral series. I am happy this is happening and it will be great for India and Pakistan but also for world cricket," Miandad said.

Miandad, who has toured India as player and coach, said a tour to India was always special for Pakistani players as they were warmly welcomed in India.

Asif Iqbal, however, sounded a word of caution.

"I am happy that finally it looks like Pakistan and India will be playing a bilateral series and it is a good start but I would still urge a word of caution keeping in mind the relations between the two countries," Iqbal told a Pakistani news channel.

He pointed out that there was still some time remaining before the series in late December.

"I have always said Pakistan and India must play regularly. Unfortunately this has not happened. But I know for a fact that Indo-Pak matches are no less iconic than the Ashes," Asif said.

"Eventually if regular bilateral ties are held it will help young players from both countries and also help improve relations on a broader level," he added.

Former Test opener and ex-selector Aamir Sohail said the BCCI invitation was a big step forward in improving relations between the two countries.

"For now Pakistan should be happy playing in India but in near future India should also tour Pakistan for a bilateral series. If they come I am sure other countries will be persuaded as well to help Pakistan board revive international cricket in the country," Sohail said.

He said that once the BCCI had invited Pakistan for the Champions League it was a matter of time before the ice broke.

"The intense diplomatic and board to board level contacts behind the scenes has paid dividends," he said.

Former Test leg-spinner Abdul Qadir said, "I know that when cricket is played regularly between Pakistan and India it does have a positive trickle down effect on the people that is why I have been saying it is important to have Indo-Pak contests.

Former Test pacer Sarfaraz Nawaz said Pakistan must also now start planning to host India at home.

"If India comes, be assured other teams will also come. But for now it is just good news for the sport that we will be playing a bilateral series after such a long time."