KARACHI - Some of Pakistan's top players, including Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar, have expressed hope that the issue of bilateral cricket ties with India was discussed by Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, on his flying visit to the country. Former Pakistan quick Akhtar pointed out that cricket had always played a big role in bringing the people of the two countries closer. "I am happy that our prime minister is in India and I hope cricket ties are discussed in these big meetings," Akhtar told PTI. "Because it is necessary to have bilateral cricket ties between the two countries. "It is particularly important for Pakistan, as whenever Pakistan and India play against each other these matches bring financial rewards for both boards and the PCB in particular needs a financial boost." Akhtar said that he would also like to see the issue of Pakistan players in the IPL being resolved soon. "If things continue the way they are, I have a feeling by end of this year the Indians will take a decision on allowing our players in the IPL," he said. All-rounder Afridi also wanted to see more India-Pakistan series' in future. "I hope with our prime minister also going to India, the Indian board responds positively and we see bilateral matches soon," he said.Former Pakistan captain Younis Khan also backed the restoration of bilateral cricket ties. "Our prime minister himself has played cricket and is a keen student and follower of cricket, so I am sure this subject would have been discussed by him in these meetings," Younis said in Lahore.