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Faint glimmer of hope for Pak-India cricket series: PCB official

Mohammad Amir (R) shares a laugh with a member of the Indian cricket team in this AFP file photo.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official has hinted at a Twenty20 cricket series between India and Pakistan in the near future, according to a report by Daily Jang on Wednesday.

The official, who requested anonymity as he is not authorised to comment on the matter, at first refused to remark on the possibility of cricket diplomacy between the two traditional rivals.

Later, however, he said that although no one had spoken to him directly about the restoration of cricket ties but hints are being dropped and there is a faint glimmer of hope. “We have been told to be prepared,” he said.

In this regard, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani on Tuesday said that “no one has contacted us and we are not in talks with the Indian board”.

The last bilateral series between the two countries was held in India in 2012-13. PCB sources said that if the series is viable, the Indian team will visit Pakistan because it was Pakistan who visited India the last time.

The two sides have, since the bilateral series took place nine years ago, have frequently competed in International Cricket Council events such as the Asia Cup against one another.

There is also speculation in the Indian media that there may be a short series between Pakistan and India this year, according to Jang.

The publication further notes that the efforts regarding the series are being made by the same party that is reportedly trying to broker a peace accord between the neighbours, whose already frail relations have frayed over the past few years to the extent that they came on the verge of war in 2019.

The PCB says the Pakistani team is nearly fully booked this year, but if there is a break in talks between the two governments for a cricket series, a six-day window could be opened for three matches.

Meanwhile, an ICC meeting is scheduled on March 31 and April 1 in which India is expected to let the international cricketing body know what progress has been made on visas and security for Pakistani players, journalists and spectators for the World Twenty20 being hosted by the country.

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