‘BCCI was reluctant to tour’: Rashid Latif claims Sourav Ganguly paved way for 2004 series in Pakistan

Former Pakistan cricketer Rashid Latif claimed that former India captain and current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly played a massive role in India agreeing to tour Pakistan in 2004. Latif revealed that BCCI was reluctant to send the team but then-skipper Ganguly managed to convince the Indian board and also the players. India clinched the five-match ODI series 3-2 while they also won the three-match Test series 2-1.

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“In 2004, when the BCCI was reluctant to tour Pakistan, it was (Sourav) Ganguly, who persuaded the BCCI and players.It was a highly memorable tour for India as they managed to win big here after a long gap,” Latif was quoted as saying by ‘The Nation’.

The former wicket-keeper also urged Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to seek help from their Indian counterpart for the commencement of bilateral ties between the two cricketing powerhouses. The two teams have been playing against each other only in ICC tournaments in recent years.

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“As a cricketer and BCCI President, Ganguly can help (Ehsan) Mani and the PCB,” Latif said. “Unless full-fledged Pakistan-India bilateral series resumes, things won’t improve for both countries. The world wants to see Pak-India playing cricket.

“PCB CEO Wasim Khan should also play his active part to ensure top cricket-playing nations come and tour Pakistan as it will help Pakistan cricket and local players,” he added.

Test cricket returned to Pakistan recently in more than a decade as Sri Lanka came calling. The Islanders were beaten 2-0 but cricket was the real winner as Pakistan fans got to witness red-ball cricket in their own backyard after a huge gap.

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“The arrival of Sri Lankan team after more than a decade was a sigh of relief for not only struggling Pakistani cricket but also for long-suffering masses. Majority of our cricket grounds have also suffered badly in the absence of international matches,” Latif added.

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