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Thatscricket - Wish your star

Published: Sunday, June 3, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Dubai: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Gen Tauqir Zia has said he fails to understand why the Indian government is not permitting its cricket team to play against Pakistan, especially when the two countries are playing against each other in sports such as volleyball, hockey and squash. '' Our stand is that cricket should not be mixed with politics, especially when you are taking part in other games. Indias volleyball team recently played in Pakistan. Also, they (the two countries) play regularly against each other in hockey and squash,'' he said.In an interview to Jeddah-based Arab News, Gen Zia said he could not understand why cricket was being singled out. '' May be because there is a greater involvement of people. There is a lot of money, but anyway the fact remains that we want to play against India.''However, he asserted that if India did not want to play against Pakistan ''then we are not going to go on our knees and beg that we do want to play, then we also don't want to play against them...It is as simple as that''. His comments come against the backdrop of Indian Sports Minister Uma Bharati announcing that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would have to seek the government's permission before the Indian team was allowed to visit Pakistan to play an Asia Cup match later this year. Gen Zia said he had no doubt that the BCCI was in favour of the Indian team playing against Pakistan. '' As far as its Board is concerned, I have been dealing with it for the last one and half years, the Board definitely wants to play cricket with Pakistan. But the government is the supreme authority which will tell you against whom you can play and against whom you cannot,'' he added.Asked why Pakistan had to go in for a foreign coach when there were so many former cricketers ready to coach the players, Gen Zia said there were three qualified coaches in the country Shahid Mahmood, Wasim Hassan Raja and Khan Mohammed - who were all residing in England and did not want to come back to Pakistan.In this connection, he also indicated that the decision to choose a foreign coach was also inspired by the success of John Wright as the coach of the Indian team.Gen Zia said John Wright as foreign had proved himself to be successful. '' How that has happened and whether the home ground had anything to do with the success, we will have to see if India does well abroad. But in the short-term, he has been successful.''Asked about his plans to generate revenue, Gen Zia said, '' We are trying to rope in as many sponsors as we can so that not only the PCB but the players also benefit.''Noting that in India Sachin Tendulkar was making Rs 100 million, he said, '' I want that our players should earn at least Rs 10 million if not 100 million so that they do not indulge in any misdeeds.'' UNI

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