India's cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday said that Team India was open to playing against arch-rivals Pakistan if the two boards agreed to have a bilateral series in India.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf, who was invited to watch the IPL final between the Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders, had fruitful talks with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials to revive cricketing ties between the two countries.
An elated Dhoni said an India-Pakistan series at home would be the best thing to have. India have suspended bilateral sporting ties with Pakistan since the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai by Pakistani nationals.
"Pakistan if they come here and play us, nothing better than that. We are open for it. But according to schedule, I don't know where it will fit," said Dhoni on the sidelines of the inauguration of his chain of gyms, Sportsfit.
Dhoni also paid rich tributes to Indian chess legend Vishwanathan Anand who on Wednesday won the world championship for the fifth time in Moscow. Dhoni said Anand was an idol for all sportspersons.
"Anand is an inspiration for all sportsperson. I had a rare opportunity to meet him once and found he was extremely humble and down to earth. What he has done recently is simply incredible. And what he has been doing consistently is marvellous," said Dhoni.
Dhoni was also taken aback when he heard the news of the retirement of England batsman and former skipper Kevin Pietersen from ODIs and Twenty20s.
"I am surprised with his decision. He has been a great cricketer in both the formats of the game. We have all enjoyed his batting and he had a great impact in this year's IPL as well. He will be sincerely missed in this year's World Twenty20. It is good that he will carry on playing in Test cricket and I wish him luck in his career," said Dhoni.
The India captain also said that he wants to make the best use of the one-and-half month break from international cricket.
"The break is very important for me. But there are lot of prior commitments. I have to do some work with the 'Territorial Army' and 'Save the Tiger' campaign. We have been playing without a break for the last four years and now hopefully I can spend some quality time with my family. I may even go for a vacation," he said.