India pulls out of Aussie series to play Pak

Published: Monday, May 28, 2001, 18:25 [IST]
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New Delhi: India has pulled out of an indoor Limited Overs series against Australia in September to play its first Test match on Pakistani soil in 12 years, a senior official said on Monday. The Indians had accepted an invitation to play a Limited Overs series against Steve Waugh's World Cup champions at the Colonial Stadium in Melbourne between September 10 and 16. The dates, however, clash with the Asian Test championship match between India and Pakistan from September 13 to 17, which was agreed upon by both sides in Lahore last week. "We would prefer to play the Test match in Pakistan rather than go for the One-day series in Australia," said Jayawant Lele, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). "I am writing to the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) shortly to tell them we will not be coming," Lele told AFP. The ACB had invited India for the indoor series following a remarkable Test series between the two countries in February-March, when India came from behind to win 2-1 and end Australia's 16-Test winning streak. South Africa was Australia's opponent in the inaugural indoor series at the Colonial Stadium 2000. Asian cricket chiefs announced last week that India had agreed to play its first Test in Pakistan since 1989 as part of the Asian championships. The match, expected to be played in Karachi, will be a major breakthrough in cricketing relations between the two South Asian rivals after India repeatedly declined to play Pakistan in the past two years. The Indian government has allowed the national side to play against Pakistan in multi-nation events like the World Cup and Asian championships, but refuses to sanction bilateral series between the two.

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