Nawaz Sharif asks Najam Sethi to revive India-Pakistan cricket ties

India and Pakistan played each other in a bilateral series earlier in the year for the first time since the Mumbai attacks in 2008 © PTI

Lahore: Oct 16, 2013

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has taken over as patron-in-chief of the country’s cricket board, has asked its chairman Najam Sethi to focus on reviving bilateral series with India even if it has to be done at a neutral venue.

“PM Sharif has tasked Najam Sethi to especially focus revival of cricketing ties with India even on a neutral venue,” a close aide of Sharif told PTI.

The aide said that Sharif’s love for cricket “forced” him to appoint himself patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Earlier, this position was held by the President of Pakistan.

Sharif often plays cricket at his private residence in Murree, a hill station some 50 kilometres from the capital city, Islamabad.

Mian sahib (Nawaz Sharif) not only watches some matches but also plays cricket sometimes,” the aide said.

Sharif used to play cricket against top clubs of the city at Lahore’s Gymkhana in 1980s. He had also played against West Indies in a practice match in mid-1980s at Gymkhana.

But his decision to appoint Sethi as ‘acting’ chairman of PCB has raised questions about his seriousness in improving the cricket affairs as Sethi has never been “keen observer or critic” of the cricket matters.

Currently, he is facing a contempt of court proceedings for not conducting elections for a new PCB chairman.

Sharif came to his rescue yesterday and formed an Interim Management Committee for three months to run the day to day affairs of the PCB. The move is aimed at saving Sethi from contempt proceedings.