Lahore: In a rather surprising move, the Pakistan Cricket Board has asked the BCCI to play host to a 'home' series of the Pakistan cricket team in the future. According to well-informed sources, the chairman of the Pakistan board, Zaka Ashraf, made the offer to his Indian counterpart, N Srinivasan, on the sidelines of the ICC meeting in Dubai last weekend.
"Ashraf told Srinivasan that Pakistan would be willing to play their future home series on Indian soil if the Indian board was ready to play host," a source said. "Ashraf also told the Indian board president and ICC president Sharad Pawar that if India agreed to host Pakistan's 'home' matches, the PCB would pay for all the expenses involved in the venture. Clearly Ashraf wants resumption of bilateral cricket with India, and believes if India agrees to play host to Pakistan's home matches, the ice will break between the two boards."
Pakistan have been forced to play all their 'home' series at neutral venues since 2009 as foreign teams have refused to tour the country because of security concerns. Pakistan have played their home matches mostly in the UAE and even in England and New Zealand, in a bid to ensure that the team is not deprived of international cricket. In August, Pakistan will be playing a 'home' one-day international series against Australia in Sri Lanka after the Aussies refused to tour the country.
The PCB said that if India agreed to host Pakistan's 'home' matches, the board would pay for all the expenses involved.
The Indian board has avoided any bilateral cricket relations with Pakistan since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. "Ashraf has the backing of the Pakistan government in his endeavours and he apparently had a pleasant discussion with the Indians in Dubai," the source said.
Recently, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq also called for the resumption of regular bilateral cricket ties with India, insisting this would prove beneficial not only to both countries, but also to the world of cricket.