ICC ready to play Pakistan matches abroad

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2001, 3:51 [IST]
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London: International Cricket Council (ICC) president Malcolm Gray admitted on Monday that Pakistan's home Test matches could have to be played on foreign soil following safety concerns arising from United States and British military action in neighbouring Afghanistan.
 "Obviously the current situation is a huge problem," Gray said at Lord's on Monday. "Our hope is that it might be short and sharp and we can get over it quickly. But if the situation continues it will cause enormous problems logistically and financially for the game." New Zealand and Sri Lanka have already cancelled tours to Pakistan because of turmoil caused there by the terrorist incidents in the United States and the subsequent military response. The ICC want to keep Pakistan playing international cricket and Gray said, "It's possible their home matches could be played at independent venues if that becomes necessary. "Nothing has been decided but it's something we are looking closely at. A number of political situations are affecting the world of cricket. Ideally, all ICC members should be free to play against each other, unconstrained by events and decisions outside their control. "In reality however, international cricket in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe is currently being affected by political decisions and horrific uncertainties." England is due to tour India next month but Gray said he was not expecting the ICC to have to alter the existing schedule. "We are keeping a watching brief but at the moment any consideration of the matter would be triggered by England," he said. Earlier Monday England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tim Lamb said the tour will "definitely go ahead" barring huge change in the international political situation.

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