ATC will lose its glamour without India: Dalmiya

Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2001, 23:03 [IST]
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[an error occurred while processing this directive]New Delhi: The four-nation Asian Test Championship (ATC) will go ahead even without India, which may not be able to participate because of a government order banning it from playing Pakistan, a top cricket official said Thursday."Obviously, the Championship will lose much of its glamour if India pulled out," Asian Cricket Foundation (ACF) chairman Jagmohan Dalmiya told a news conference in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata."But cricket has to go on. It is desirable that all four countries play since the world is looking forward to this meet."

The Championship is scheduled to bring together Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and would be played at different venues between September and February.India has refused to participate in any bilateral cricket series with Pakistan, whom it accuses of backing cross-border terrorism. "The Indian Board has been asked to confirm whether it will play in the Championship by August 23. We are hopeful of a favourable response," Dalmiya said.

He said Indian Board secretary Jayawant Lele had been invited to attend the ACF conclave to discuss the issue. "The Board was expecting to get the clearance from the Indian government by Monday," he said.He said the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), which organises the event, was willing to "bend backwards" and extend the participation deadline by two more days to India, provided the whole schedule was not disrupted.India's Sports Minister Uma Bharthi said last week she had to seek clearance from other government ministries for allowing India's participation.

"The final decision will be taken by the External Affairs Ministry, to whom I will be giving my views," she said.Pakistan is to host the Test against India, the first between the two nations in the country since India's four-match tour in 1989-90. India had cancelled a scheduled cricket tour of Pakistan in December and then pulled out of the Sharjah series in the Gulf.

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