While India and Pakistan await a breakthrough in reviving main cricketing ties, they will field blind teams in a limited over series next month, a Pakistani official said on Friday.
“We have arranged a three Twenty20 and three one-day international match series with India late next month and hope that with that blind series both the nations will play more and more,” Syed Sultan Shah, president of the Pakistan Blind Cricket Association, told AFP.
India stalled cricketing ties with Pakistan after Islamist gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008, attacks that New Delhi blamed on Pakistani militants and which Islamabad conceded were planned at least partly on Pakistani soil.
India and Pakistan now insist relations are back on track and peace talks have since resumed. But despite an agreement in principle to resume the hugely popular bilateral cricket series, there has been no breakthrough.
Pakistan and India are slotted to play a series in the Future Tours Programme of the International Cricket Council next year but a date and venue have yet to be finalised.
Shah said the Indian blind team would be accorded a warm welcome on November 16 at the Wagah border crossing, near Lahore.
“We want to give a message that people of India and Pakistan are friends and through this series we will also project the message that cricket should not suffer,” said Shah, also Pakistan’s first blind team captain.
The three Twenty20 matches will be played in Lahore on November 18, 19 and 20, while the three one-day matches are scheduled for November 22, 24 and 26.
Pakistan have won two of the three World Cups held in blind cricket, the last one at home in 2006.
A blind team comprises of four totally visually impaired players, three partially blind and four partially sighted players.
Totally blind players are helped by a runner whose one run is counted as double, two as four and four as eight.
The ball has a bell to help the batsmen, bowlers and fielders sense its approach.
Pakistan has not hosted international cricket since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009, killing eight Pakistanis and wounding seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach.