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Cricket will ease tensions between India and Pakistan: Shoaib Malik

Lahore, Dec.3 : Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik has said that the Indian cricket team's tour of his country in January and February next year should go ahead, saying "cricket diplomacy" would ease existing tensions between the neighbors.

"If we play cricket matches, then the people of both countries will have a chance to divert their attention and the situation will definitely improve. Cricket diplomacy has helped in the past as well in the same manner," The News quoted Malik as saying.

India is due to play a side game, three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match on in the January-February tour of Pakistan next year.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is awaiting clearance for undertaking the tour from the government. The government is reported to be in two minds about sending the Indian team in the wake of last week's terror attacks in Mumbai, said to have been activated from Pakistan.

Malik said cricket was the sub-continent's biggest passion and listed past examples of how the sport has brought India and Pakistan closer.

He also said his team must play some matches soon.

"We badly need cricket because we have not played a single Test this year and are anxiously waiting for the India series," he said.

Story first published: Wednesday, December 3, 2008, 10:24 [IST]
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