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New ICC chief backs India-Pakistan ties

Sharad Pawar says history has always shown cricket matches have helped improve relations as he takes charge as president.

NEW DELHI // The new president of the International Cricket Council said today he is happy to encourage a resumption of cricket ties between India and Pakistan, which were disrupted after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. Sharad Pawar, who succeeded England's David Morgan as ICC president following the governing body's annual conference in Singapore, said the recent visits of India's home minister and foreign secretary to Pakistan for talks were welcome developments. "Our experience is that when they (India and Pakistan) start playing cricket, there is improvement in their relationship," Pawar told a television channel. He added, however, that both governments would have to give clearance. India's government advised the cricket authorities not to proceed with a scheduled visit to Pakistan after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, which India blamed on Pakistani militants. India was to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international in Pakistan in early 2009. In recent months, India and Pakistan have taken steps toward resuming peace talks aimed at resolving issues dating back six decades, including a dispute over the territory of Kashmir. Pawar, a former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, will lead the ICC for two years. He is the second Indian to occupy the top ICC position, after Jagmohan Dalmiya. * AP

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