RE - The cricket board chiefs of India and Pakistan will be face-to-face with each other at the Asian Cricket Council meeting in Colombo on Friday but PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt says the issue of next year's India-Pakistan series will not be discussed.
Butt said before leaving for Colombo that due to the political and diplomatic tensions between the two countries, there would be no discussion on the tour on the sidelines of the meet. Earlier there were reports that they would discuss the bilateral series during the ACC meeting.
But reports emanating ACC chief executive Ashraful Haq say that the ACC will play a mediators' role between the two boards' chiefs.
Butt and BCCI President Shashank Manohar will attend the ACC development/finance committee meeting.
"As far as discussions on the India series is concerned the Indians have confirmed a meeting in Chennai on December 12," Butt said.
"I think even the media knows that in these conditions it would be inappropriate to discuss the tour with Manohar on the sidelines of the ACC meeting."
Butt said the matter was now in the hands of the governments but as far as PCB was concerned they were progressing with the preparations for the tour.
"All we can do at this stage is assure all touring teams including India foolproof security arrangements if they come 0to Pakistan," he said.
Butt though admitted that existing conditions could make things difficult for series to materialise.
Indian team can come to Pakistan only if their government gives a clearance. But after the Mumbai terror attacks there is pressure on the Indian government to not allow any cricket ties with Pakistan at the moment.
India are scheduled to play three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and a Twenty20 match during the tour.
Butt also said Pakistan would raise the issue of the security in the region and how it threatened international cricket at the ICC Chief Executives meeting in Capetown next week.
"We will try to convince the other members that it is time that the ICC had a uniform policy for teams not wanting to tour countries for security reasons because we can't go without international cricket for long," he said.
However, the ACC official said that the ACC will play a key role in breaking the apparent deadlock in the Indo-Pak cricket during its two meetings.
"We are hopeful that the December 5 ACC Development meeting in Colombo and then the finance committee meeting in Chennai will help the officials of the two Boards to interact and alongwith the ACC officials we can help convince India to send its team to Pakistan," Ashraful was quoted by cricketnirvana as saying.
India is due to play three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 international but the tour is in serious doubts, first over security fears in Pakistan and now over strained relations in the wake of Mumbai terrorists' attacks which India blamed on Pakistan.
Huq said he has requested Butt to also attend the first day of the Chennai Test between India and England to show solidarity to India."I have always said that cricket is beyond terrorism and Asian cricket should not be hurt by such dastardly acts," said Huq.
Huq said it was in the best benefit of Asian cricket that Pakistan and India play regularly. "Asian cricket thrives on Indo-Pak series and we hope that these ties are not stalled as were in the past. Pakistan and India playing each other is a great thing for cricket in Asia in general and for world cricket in particular," said Huq.