BCCI hopes to send team for Asian Test

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2001, 23:40 [IST]
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New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is hopeful of sending the national squad to Pakistan for the second Asian Test championship to be held in September this year. ''The government has clearly stated that it has no objection to India playing against Pakistan in a multilateral tournament,'' Board president A C Muthiah told reporters on Tuesday. Besides India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh would be the other participants in the tournament. The inaugural Asian Test championship was held in India in 1999. Officials from Boards of these countries are to meet in Lahore on Thursday to attend the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting, which would discuss the development of the game in the continent besides the venues of the Test championship. Muthiah said he would attend the meeting. Strained political relations between India and Pakistan after the Kargil War and in view of the ongoing cross border terrorism have impacted on cricketing ties between the two countries. The Indian government refused permission to the team to travel to Pakistan for a Test series late last year and also banned participation in non- regular venues like Sharjah, Toronto and Singapore for three years. After its Working Committee meeting here on April 24, BCCI had threatened to pull out of even the World Cup and ICC tournament due to ''lack of clear-cut guidelines'' from the government on playing against Pakistan. Later, Sports Minister Uma Bharthi said that the government was only against planned bilateral cricket series against Pakistan. She also explained the government decision to pick cricket as ''it has become much more than a game ... It is a national passion in the two countries''.

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