Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf on Monday expressed optimism about the future of cricketing relations between Pakistan and India and extended a warm welcome to a delegation from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that arrived in Lahore today.

The visiting delegation comprised BCCI President Roger Binny and board’s Vice President Rajiv Shukla among others.

The visit of the high-level BCCI delegation comes during the ongoing Asia Cup that is being jointly hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka under a hybrid model after the Indian cricket board refused last year to tour Pakistan for the tournament.

According to a Times Now report, it was the first visit of any BCCI delegation to Pakistan since November 2008. It said the delegation arrived in Pakistan via the Wagah Border.

“Our visit is related to cricket and Pakistan fans should enjoy the Asia Cup as impressive matches are being organised in the tournament,” Shukla told journalists in Lahore, who was flanked by the PCB chief and Binny.

In a brief interaction with the media after a meeting with PCB chief Ashraf, Shukla noted that the BCCI secretary was the chairperson of the Asian Cricket Council hence “it was incumbent upon us to make it here because Pakistan is hosting the Asia Cup.”

He said the BCCI delegation also visited Sri Lanka’s Kandy last week.

Speaking on the occasion, Binny said he had last visited Pakistan in 2005.

“We are here to watch matches including the one of Afghanistan scheduled tomorrow as well as other matches [of the tournament] in the future,” he said in response to a query.

The PCB chief termed the arrival of the BCCI delegation “a great moment”.

Ashraf said he was thankful to the Indian delegation for accepting the PCB’s invitation and making it to Pakistan.

“If they (BCCI) reciprocate the same gesture, we will also respond accordingly,” the PCB chairman said, adding “We will grow together and the two boards will have stronger ties.”

According to reports, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is considering moving games in the Super Four round of the ongoing Asia Cup away from Colombo as wet weather looms over the Sri Lankan capital. However, no formal decision has been taken in this regard.

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