Newly-elected International Cricket Council (ICC) President Zaheer Abbas vowed to play his part in reviving bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan despite the ceremonial nature of his position.
Abbas was named president of the ICC for the next year at the annual conference of the sport’s world governing body in Barbados last week.
The Pakistan great said he would actively contribute to the betterment of cricket in his largely honorary role.
“Being in a ceremonial post does not mean I can’t do anything. I love this game and in the next one year I want to contribute something to world cricket,” Zaheer was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
At the top of his agenda would be the revival of bilateral series between Pakistan and India.
“I want to play a role in helping revive Indo-Pak cricket matches because the people of both countries want for matches to take place. Having regular bilateral ties is also necessary for the sport’s global image.
“I know it is not an easy task because Indo-Pak cricket ties are ruled by political relations between the two countries. But I want to do something in this direction because if we have regular bilateral ties it is good for players and people of both countries,” he added.
Abbas, also known as the ‘Asian Bradman’, said cricket between the two countries had a special place.
“Having India and Pakistan matches is something close to my heart and I will do my best to make it happen.”
The batting legend, who featured for Pakistan in 78 Tests at an average of 44.79, was hopeful of playing an important role in the globalisation of the sport.
“Cricket has to be globalised further and it should become popular in many more countries,” he said.
The 67-year-old former Pakistan great said his cricketing career had come “full circle” after he took over as president of the cricket’s governing body.
“I felt so proud and everyone gave so much respect to me I felt over the moon,” he said.
Zaheer, who is also the only Asian to score 100 first-class centuries, said it was a proud moment when everyone addressed him as “Mr President”.
“I am what I am because of Pakistan and I feel very good about representing Pakistan in the ICC for the next one year.”
ICC revives ‘Pakistan Task Team’
The Pakistan Task Team was revived at the recently-concluded ICC board meeting in Barbados with its chairman Giles Clarke pledging to take early steps to help bring Pakistan cricket back into the international arena.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan will be discussing proposals with Clarke to open up tours to Pakistan during his stay in England.
These would include full members, Associate members, sub-national teams such as ‘A’ team, U-19 and Women’s teams and the possibility of a Commonwealth or international team’s visit to Pakistan.
Moreover, on the sidelines of the conference, the PCB chief was able to have productive talks with representatives of Afghanistan, Ireland, Kenya, India, England and Australia with a view to arranging bilateral series in near future.
Khan was also nominated to the important ICC Governance Committee for the coming year. This membership would be in addition to his current inclusion in the Executive and Audit Committees of the ICC.