You have to ask Modiji and Imran Khan: Ganguly on resumption of bilateral cricket

Kolkata: BCCI president-elect Sourav Ganguly has said that resumption of bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan is subject to approval from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Imran Khan.

Asked about the resumption of India-Pakistan bilateral ties during a media briefing here, Ganguly said, “You have to ask that question to Modi ji and the Pakistan Prime Minister.”

“Of course we have (to take permission), because international exposure (tours) is all through governments. So we don’t have an answer to that question,” the former India captain added.

The last time both neighbours featured in a bilateral series was in 2012, when India hosted Pakistan for a limited-overs series comprising two T20Is and three ODIs.

The 47-year-old Ganguly, who will take charge as BCCI’s next president on October 23, had led India on the historic tour of Pakistan in 2004, the first bilateral series since the Kargil war in 1999 and India’s first visit to Pakistan since 1989.

Reacting strongly to the February 14 terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, the BCCI, in what seemed to be a reference to Pakistan, had asked the ICC “to sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates”.

The letter was sent at the behest of the three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), tasked with supervising the affairs of the Board till fresh elections were held.

The CoA had also mulled over asking the ICC to boycott Pakistan from the World Cup.

Dada’s rise boost for ATK players

ATK and Indian national team football players Pritam Kotal and Pronay Halder on Thursday hailed team co-owner Sourav Ganguly who is set to become the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president on October 23, saying the development has inspired them to win the third title. Ganguly is also the face of the Indian Super League (ISL) which is set to kick-off on October 20 when two-time champions ATK take on Kerala Blasters in Kochi.

Former India captain Ganguly will attend the opening ceremony for which he would not be able to go for the third Test between India and South Africa in Ranchi from Saturday.

“He is an inspiration to all of us. There is a Bengali sentiment also. I have grown up watching him play. I fondly remember his debut century at Lord’s and that really motivated me as I aspired to become a footballer,” India full back Kotal said.

“I am eager to meet him and congratulate him. It’s a great achievement and as a Bengali I feel proud. This will definitely inspire us to go for the title,” defensive mid fielder Pronay Halder said.

ATK won the inaugural ISL title in 2014 under Spanish coach Antonio Habas who is back for a second term with the city-based outfit.