Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) yesterday said that it had lost a sincere friend with the demise of Indian cricket supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya.

In a statement issued by PCB, Chairman Shaharyar Khan, Chairman of the executive committee Najam Sethi and the chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed offered their deepest condolences to Dalmiya's family. "I have been deeply shocked and dismayed at the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya the Chairman of BCCI. It is a profound loss to me as he was a personal friend and a sincere well-wisher of Pakistan cricket," Shaharyar said.

"I knew him during my first tenure as PCB Chairman as a colleague in the ICC and later as its Chairman. It was when Dalmiya was at the helm of affairs of Indian cricket that we arranged the landmark 2004 series in difficult circumstances. Who can forget that during the Kolkata Test in 1999 Dalmiya strode out into the arena with Sachin Tendulkar to pacify a crowd of 90,000 that were furious and agitated at the latter's controversial run out," he said.

"He (Dalmiya) took this intrepid step so that the match could be resumed and calm restored. He succeeded even though Pakistan eventually won the match," Shaharyar recalled. The PCB chief noted that it was Dalmiya who invited Pakistan to play the BCCI's Jubilee match in Kolkata. "He told me he had a choice of nine Test playing nations but wanted Pakistan to play the historic match before a capacity crowd," he added.

Pakistan¿s former cricket chief executive Arif Ali Abbasi, who was very close to Dalmiya and is himself these days ill, said he was upset by the news. "We worked very well together and I must say that when Dalmiya was in the Indian board he worked towards the direction of making the Pakistan and Indian boards one and this brought us the hosting rights of the 1987 and 1996 World Cups. He made the sub-continent a cricketing power house," Abbasi noted.