LAHORE – Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf welcoming the Pak-India cricket revival said that it would surely help strengthening the relations of both the countries.

“It is a breakthrough and now ice has started melting and the time is not so far when international cricket will be back in Pakistan. I had been trying to revive Pak-India cricket ties for six months and now it bore fruit and India confirmed the proposed series in December which is a big initiative taken by Indian board. I am thankful to them for this and hope we would make our relations strong and healthy with this cricket revival after the gap of five years,” Zaka told this scribe on Monday.

“My aim is to bring Pakistan out of isolation and bring back international cricket to Pakistan and is striving hard in this regard. The revival of Pak-India series is also the result of those efforts which are being made for the revival of international cricket in Pakistan. The decision of Indian board will fulfil the wishes of millions of cricket fans and provide them entertainment,” he added.

BCCI had announced the venues and matches and according to it, three one-day internationals will be played at Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi respectively while two Twenty20 internationals will be played at Ahmedabad and Bangalore.

When asked about venues and series details, Zaka said: “We have received a letter with the BCCI invitation for the series in which they have confirmed the series, and the venues and other things will be decided later.”

Zaka also said that if the provincial governments would assure provision of foolproof security, then international cricket would soon back to the country.

“The role of provincial governments regarding provision of foolproof security is very important and if they will assure their all-out support and provision of infallible security then I promise international cricket will be back in the country soon. Zaka spoke to the BCCI after he was invited to watch the Indian Premier League (IPL) final - a month after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari asked Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to revive Pak-India cricket series.

“I started the talks as soon as I took over as PCB chairman. And started for the revival of cricket in Pakistan as well as breaking the deadlock between India and Pakistan and am thankful to the Allah Almighty that it has happened,” he concluded.