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LAHORE: The resumption of bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan will only be possible when the neighbouring countries find a solution to the prevailing tensions between them, International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Dave Richardson has said.

The arch-rivals have not faced each other in a bilateral series since 2007 when Pakistan traveled to India to play five ODIs and three Tests.

Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) numerous attempts to hold negotiations with their Indian counterparts have also been met with resistance by the latter’s government.

”Although India is a big and an important country in cricket, both economically and due to love of their people for the sport, it is as powerful as any other ICC member country,” said Richardson in a press conference here on Wednesday.

“As both the countries (India and Pakistan) are bound to play the matches against each other in the ICC events, as far as the bilateral cricket is concerned it is up to the two countries to take a decision,” he added.

“The PCB made good efforts to convince India to resume bilateral cricket but political issues between the two countries are creating hurdles.”

Richardson also praised Pakistan’s cricket fraternity for playing a major role in the national team’s success in the ICC Champions Trophy and also their rise to the top of the Test rankings last year.

He said that it was unfortunate that no international cricket was held in Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore back in 2009, but that has not stopped the team from gathering success on the field.

Richardson was positive about the prospects of the return of international cricket to Pakistan and believed the on-going Independence Cup will make other members feel more confident about sending their cricket teams to the country.

He said it was a good news that the cricketing world was supporting Pakistan in restoring international cricket and that the World XI also deserved praise for the part they are playing in the process.

The ICC official believed it was important for all countries to make further efforts to help repopulate Pakistan’s cricketing arenas.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017