New Delhi: The Sialkot Stallions' participation in this year's Champions League T20 will "set the ball rolling" for the resumption of bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan, feels former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram.
Akram welcomed the BCCI and the tournament oraganising committee's decision to allow the Pakistan T20 champions to play in the CLT20 for the first time since the event's inception in 2008. Interestingly, Sialkot were included in the inaugural season of CLT20 in 2008, but the tournament got cancelled due to the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
"Knowing the kind of talent in Pakistan and especially in Sialkot, Indian fans will now enjoy watching their style of play. I think Sialkot's participation is crucial to future bilateral ties [between India and Pakistan]. I hope Sialkot's participation will set the ball rolling. It will have a great effect on the trust levels between the two nations," said Akram.
Both the Indian (BCCI) and Pakistani cricket boards (PCB) recently used the IPL platform to discuss the resumption of cricketing ties between the two nations. PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf was an invitee to the IPL final in Chennai and Akram hailed the move as a positive one.
"The talks between the two boards have started on a positive note. Zaka Ashraf's coming to watch the IPL final is a good start to end the bitterness between the neighbours," said the former left-arm pacer.
According to reports, BCCI and PCB are discussing the possibility of squeezing in either three ODIs or two ODIs and a Twenty20 match between December 23 and January 10.
"This is great news from the broadcasters' point of view. The thrill, the fun and the pressure that an India-Pakistan match can generate is simply unmatched," said Akram.