Qaiser Mohammad Ali

Mohali, March 8:

While the Indian and Pakistani teams battled it out on the field, some former players and key administrators who brought the 1987 and 1996 World Cups to the Indian subcontinent hugged and greeted each other at a rare reunion in the pavilion on Tuesday. The ‘gang’ comprising former Indian cricket board presidents NKP Salve, Inderjit Singh Bindra and Raj Singh Dungarpur and their Pakistani counterparts Ghulam Safdar Butt, Arif Ali Khan Abbasi and others hugged each other warmly. Adding glamour to the occasion was actress Sharmila Tagore and her husband Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, a former India captain, in the pavilion of the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium. Also joining them was the current Board of Control for Cricket in India president Ranbir Singh Mahendra as well as two former Pakistan captains, Intikhab Alam, now coach of the local Punjab team, and Aamir Sohail, who is covering the series for an Indian TV channel.

The scene of the rare reunion and bonhomie was the sprawling office of Bindra, who is also the PCA president. Abbasi, a former CEO of the Pakistan Cricket Board, was a key member of the other joint organising committee of the Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan boards that won the right to host the 1996 World Cup in the subcontinent. The three special guests — Intikhab, Sohail and Abbasi — took the opportunity to discuss the composition of the Pakistani team here, with Sohail giving some examples from his playing days about the manners in which selection is done in his country. Sohail, an elegant left-hander and part-time spinner, is also a former Pakistan selector.