'India, Pakistan working out for ODI series this year'

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who visited Mohali last month to watch the India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal, said the Boards of the two countries are holding negotiations for renewing cricket ties.

"We want to restart cricket ties with India. Negotiations are underway and nothing has been finalised as yet," Gilani told reporters on the sidelines of a reception he hosted yesterday for members of the Pakistani cricket team.

Pakistan Cricket Board chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad told 'The News' daily that efforts were on to arrange a three-match ODI series despite the hectic schedule of the two countries this year.

He said there was a possibility that the two Boards might be able to arrange an ODI series sometime this year.

"Taking time out from the hectic ICC Future Tour Programme would not be easy. However, all efforts are being made to adjust the series this year," he said.
"We are working on it but I don't think we can manage more than 10-12 days and in such a case, only three ODIs can be arranged. However, all these talks are in an early stage," Ahmad said.

He was not sure when or where the series would be organised.
"That is a million dollar question," he said.

India were scheduled to tour Pakistan in early 2009 but the visit was cancelled in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group.

Since then, the two countries have played against each other twice in One-Day Internationals -- at the Champions Trophy in South Africa and the World Cup last month.
Under the ICC's Future Tour Programme, Pakistan is scheduled to tour India for a Test series in March next year.

"Yes, Pakistan is scheduled to tour India early next year to play Test and One-Day series. That tour is part of the Future Tour Programme. Since we have announced the restart of bilateral series, the tour to India is a possibility," Ahmad said.

India and Pakistan recently agreed to resume their peace process, which was stalled in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

The cricket diplomacy initiated by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by inviting his Pakistani counterpart to watch the World Cup semifinal at Mohali has given a boost to the process to normalise relations.

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