Q. What has been the response to your request of reviving international cricket in Pakistan?
A. I toured India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh recently. I knew that N. Srinivasan (BCCI and ICC chief) will only meet me in Dubai, so I met some politicians, cricketers and other people. Then I went to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. I am very satisfied with the tour and the whole exercise to revive the Asian spirit that existed when I was PCB chief a few years ago. We used to have meetings all the time, consult with each other from an Asian point of view. It didn't matter to us what relations we had at the government level as we were together for Asian cricket.
Personally, I have relations with everyone and now I have revived them. I can tell you that all the countries, especially Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, are very positive about reviving this Asian spirit. In the spirit of Asian unity, they appreciated that I went over as a goodwill gesture. I went to Bangladesh during the Eid holidays. The Bangladeshi officials were supposed to go to Europe but they delayed their tour for my visit.
We accept that the security situation in Pakistan is not amenable to teams coming and playing here, and we have lived with that for the last four or five years. What I proposed to them was that they should consider sending Under-19, 'A', women's and school teams. They are more than willing to do this. The real objective is to slowly open the doors for teams to come to Pakistan. We have had very good response so far. Bishan Singh Bedi told me that he can bring an Indian XI for an exhibition game. I have had several confirmations from Associate countries. We have got permission from our government and players are also willing but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. For me the day is not far. I will announce it when they decide to come.
I met Srini and he told me that if other teams tour Pakistan, he would be able to convince the Indian government and their players. I have returned with a positive frame of mind.
Of course we have no problem going to India but Srini has said come what may, he is committed to the six series. It means that they have government approval and they are not going back to the government again and again. Six tours are confirmed. The Under-19 and A teams need confirmation.
Q: Was there any progress on Mohammad Amir's case at the ICC meeting?
A. I talked to three-four countries about Amir; they are sympathetic and the Indian chairman is quite sympathetic. I drew a distinction between the two senior boys who didn’t repent and didn’t do anything that could help reduce their sentence but Amir had apologised and admitted that he was under the influence of the captain. Srini said that there is a possibility in the change of the law so if the law is changed, we will make progress in that case. We have seen the law and there is enough leeway to be found for him. He has another year of the ban. We would like for him to be allowed to play domestic cricket in six months.
Q: What is the progress on Saeed Ajmal's remedial work?
A. I met Ajmal three times and I have seen the progress. Right now, I don't want to raise expectation too high, so I would say there is a 50-50 chance of him playing. Don’t forget it’s not just the doosra but it’s the whole action. But the encouraging part is that I have found Ajmal very determined. I met him a few days back and he told me that the improvement has been quite serious, and he is now very close to the degree of flex allowed. I praised him and told him to reduce it further in the next 2-3 weeks and he said he’d reduce to the extent to make it impossible to be called. Saqlain Mushtaq is helping him but the main thing is that he is helping himself as he knows where the fault lies. He will bowl square on the side on and he needs to do it himself.