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Zaka Ashraf © Gallo Images

Pak cricket chief wishes Thackeray well



The head of Pakistan's cricket board has sent a "get well soon" message to firebrand Indian politician Bal Thackeray who has demanded Delhi cancel next month's tour by the Pakistani team.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf said he has wished the 86-year-old founder of the hardline Hindu Shiv Sena party, who is in a critical condition in a Mumbai hospital, a speedy recovery.

"I have sent a message of get well soon to Mr Bal Thackeray," Ashraf told AFP.

"Our religion and our Prophet Mohammad taught us that we should wish everyone good health and life and following that I have wished him well and sent him a bouquet."

Thackeray vociferously opposed the limited overs series which starts next month between India and Pakistan, saying New Delhi should not revive cricketing ties until Pakistan has brought the perpetrators of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks to justice.

The attacks, which saw 166 people killed, forced New Delhi to freeze all sporting ties with Pakistan.

However, the Indian government earlier this month cleared a tour of two Twenty20 and three one-day internationals by a Pakistan team in December-January – the first between the arch-rivals in five years.

Ashraf said leaders like Thackeray must help improve relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

"I hope that Mr Thackeray gets well soon and plays his part in bringing the two nations together by supporting both the teams during this series," said Ashraf.

Pakistan are due to fly to New Delhi on December 22. They play the first Twenty20 in Bangalore on December 25. The second Twenty20 will be played in Ahmedabad two days later, followed by one-day internationals in Chennai (December 30), Kolkata (Jan 3) and Delhi (January 6).

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