Pakistan optimistic of renewing ties with India

Pakistan officials are hoping this month's mini home series against Bangladesh will finally convince neighbouring India to renew bilateral cricket ties between the two Asian cricket powerhouses. 

Bangladesh will become the first foreign team to play full internationals in Pakistan since March 2009 when Sri Lankan cricketers and officials were attacked by gunmen in Lahore.   

Foreign teams have shunned Pakistan since the attack, which killed six Pakistani policemen, meaning they have had to play their "home" matches at neutral venues.   
"We are hopeful that after Bangladesh play in Pakistan it will lead to more international matches in the country," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf told a news conference on Wednesday. 

"(Pakistan) President Asif Zardari's visit to India should come as a breakthrough in the revival of Indo-Pak cricket." 

India have frozen all bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan since 166 people were killed during a three-day siege in Mumbai in 2008. The only gunman arrested following the attacks is a Pakistani national.    

"I am hopeful of bilateral ties with India being resumed soon because I had a very constructive meeting with the BCCI President Srinivasan and his attitude was very positive," added Ashraf. 

"We are now very confident that we can organise the series without security issues."  

Bangladesh will play a one-day international on April 29 and a Twenty20 match the next day in Lahore.

"I had a good meeting with BCCI president (Narayanan) Srinivasan and this time he was more positive on the revival of the ties," said Ashraf of his talk on the sidelines of International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Dubai.

"I thank the ICC Board for the way they appreciated the revival of cricket and approved of it.

"The situation is not like it was in 2009. Since cricket was suspended in Pakistan our grounds were left deserted but things have improved and I hope more teams will come after the Bangladesh team's tour."

Ashraf said convincing Bangladesh to tour was a victory for fans of the game.

"Cricket is a passion in Pakistan and convincing Bangladesh to tour is a victory for all of us and now even a single policeman will do his best to give the visitors full security," he said.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said a comprehensive security plan will be approved by the federal government and will be forwarded to the ICC shortly.

The Bangladesh team is due to arrive on April 27.