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Diplomacy key for renewed Pak v India cricket rivalry

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Islamabad :India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj told her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz that a thaw in relations between the nuclear-armed rivals could also pave the way for a much-anticipated cricket series, he told lawmakers today.

Pakistan is awaiting the green light from New Delhi on the series, which cricket boards in both countries have agreed would consist of three one-day and two Twenty20 internationals set to be played in Sri Lanka in December-January.

Islamabad has given permission for it to go ahead, but with ties strained between the two neighbours the government in New Delhi has not.

However a recent thaw saw Swaraj visit Islamabad this week for a two-day regional conference that ended with a diplomatic breakthrough as both sides agreed to hold high-level peace talks.

No cricket announcement was made, but Aziz stated in the National Assembly session today that Swaraj told him: “Cricket and other matters will happen once relations improve.”

The PCB has warned that any staging of the series is getting more difficult with the delay, with its head telling media in Lahore today that it would wait until the weekend for a decision.

PTI