NEW DELHI - India on Saturday invited Pakistan to take part in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament this year, breaking new ground in the stalled cricket ties between the arch-rivals.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today paved the way for the inclusion of a team from Pakistan for the first time in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament after the working committee meeting.
"The Working Committee decided to recommend to the Champions League (CL) Governing Council to consider inviting the domestic T20 Champions of Pakistan to participate in the Champions League," a statement from the BCCI said.
BCCI President N Srinivasan told reporters afer the meeting of its working committee that this was a recommendation that the Board would make to the Governing Council (GC) of the CL T20.
"CLT20 is owned by BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa. So we will recommend to the GC that the BCCI has no objection and is prepared to invite a Pakistan team in the Champions League," he said.
"CLT20 will be played in India. As far as inviting a Pakistani team is concerned, it will be done by the Governing Council. The BCCI will make the recommendation to the Governing Council which will decide on the matter."
If approved by the CL T20 Governing Council, the Sialkot Stallions, led by Shoaib Malik, Pakistan's domestic T20 champions, could participate in the event scheduled in October. The Pakistan Cricket Board has been pushing for the inclusion of Pakistani teams in the tournament since its inception in 2009.
Asked if the decision could lead to a revival of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan, Mr Srinivasan said, "Today, the decision is limited to the Champions League. So, I don't want to say anything beyond it."
Pakistan has not played any bilateral series in India since the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, which claimed 166 lives and which India has blamed on elements based in Pakistan. The two teams, however, have played each other in multi-national events such as the World Cup.
The cricket boards of the two countries have been talking for some time over the possibility of resuming cricket ties. Today's decision is also expected to lead to the participation of Pakistani players in the Indian Premier League (IPL).