Thatscricket - News - Quake relief series officially cancelled
Published: Monday, February 5, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2000Extras:
Govt denies giving nod to quake series
"It's off because the Indian Board could not confirm their participation," said a spokesman for the Asian Cricket Foundation, the organisers of the series.India's sports minister Uma Bharti rejected the national team's participation, saying she stood by the government's previous stance of not having cricket ties with Pakistan, whom India accuses of fomenting violence in the troubled state of Kashmir."There is no need to play matches against Pakistan in Sharjah or anywhere in the world," said Bharti, a firebrand politician from Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).It was the fourth successive time India had cancelled a cricket series against Pakistan, much to the disappointment of officials across the border."India is isolating itself from international cricket," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Tauquir Zia said, adding he intended to complain to the International Cricket Council (ICC), the game's world governing body."After India's constant refusal, we are now left with no choice. We will not approve the ICC's 10-year programme of cricket schedules," he warned."We are supposed to play India at least four times during the next 10 years and if they refuse to tour us all the time, then why sign such a programme?" Zia said.The ICC is due to approve a 10-year schedule for all Test-playing countries in Melbourne later this month.Unless the Indian government changes its policy, observers fear that another Sharjah tri-series between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in April will also be affected."There are still two months to go, but I am pessimistic," said a senior official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)."It could be a long time before India and Pakistan play each other again."BCCI president Dr A C Muthiah pleaded helplessness, saying he had no option but to abide by the wishes of the government."I can understand the disappointment, but the Board cannot overrule the government," he said. The two countries last played each other during the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in May last year.Both India and Pakistan took part in an ICC knock-out tournament in Kenya in October, but did not play each other.