Thatscricket - Wish your star

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi: International Cricket Council (ICC) president Malcom Gray on Thursday said that the council has given Indian government time till April 30 to respond positively about hosting next year's Mini World Cup.''I am certain of getting positive response from the government but in case we don't get any answer from them (Indian Government) then Cup may be hosted in Pakistan or Australia'' Gray told newspersons on Thursday afternoon.He said that England and South Africa have also shown interest in hosting the event.''At the moment I have no reason to think that Cup will be played at any other place than India,'' he added Gray, who met union home minister L K Advani on Thursday morning, described the meeting as fruitful.''My meetings with Home, Finance and Sports ministers have been very positive,'' he said. Asked if he had sought tax exemption from the Finance Minister for holding the Mini World Cup, Gray said, ''The issue was not discussed as we have not reached that stage. It is still too far as yet.''Gray who was accompanied by Raj Singh Dungarpur and Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI) vice-president C K Khanna during his meeting with Mr Advani said the home minister assured his government full cooperation for the successful conduct of the cup. Gray said he did not discuss India's participation in Sharjah tri-nation tournament. ''Sharjah is not ICC concern, but if the relation between India and Pakistan remain like that what they are now, we will have to decide whether to allot tie to them or not.''He, however, admitted that the "ICC cannot interfere with the respective governments external affairs policy". Gray said ICC was keen to improve the standard of umpiring. ''We are forming a panel of 25 international umpires.He said ICC interested to see that the neutral umpires do duty from both ends in Tests. This issue is being considered on urgent basis. The ICC wants to bring in professionalism in umpiring."Television and technology make it appear that there are more mistakes by umpires. A complete system in this regard would be in ready by April next year."Gray delayed his press conference for more than 35 minutes, as he was busy watching the third Test. He praised Indian team for the "Wonderful way that fought back to win the series against Australia".He decided the India-Australia Test series as one of the most exciting one and added, ''Who says Test cricket is dead.''''I was expecting the Test to end in a tie, But the Indians played superbly,'' he said. He also praised Delhi Police and CBI for unearthing the match-fixing scandal, "But for their hard work and expose murky deals would have continued to tarnish the game."UNI

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