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Thatscricket - News - Afghan war puts Pak Tests in jeopardy

Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Karachi: Fresh from winning the Champions Trophy in Sharjah, Pakistan is worried the Afghanistan war means it will be starved of international cricket at home.[an error occurred while processing this directive]The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) insists the country is safe for Test cricket, but is now fighting mounting pressure for its home series to be played at neutral venues."Our people love the game and they must not suffer. We have no doubt at all that the game will never be disturbed," Pakistan Cricket Board director Brigadier Munawar Rana said.After the September 11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, New Zealand cancelled a planned series in Pakistan over security fears. The West Indies and Australia are pushing hard to play their series in Pakistan scheduled next year at a different venue.The PCB lost about $ 30 million with the New Zealand cancellation, after India refused to tour Pakistan last year on political grounds and the Asian Test championship also fell through in September.The fallout of the attacks in the US have left Pakistan with little international cricket since playing in England in May and June. It played one Test against Bangladesh in August and triumphed in the Sharjah tournament where it beat Sri Lanka in the final.It now has a mini-tour of Bangladesh starting next month where it plays two Tests and may also play a three-nation series, with India added, if the New Delhi government gives clearance."International cricketing conditions in Pakistan are reasonably good with our domestic season in full swing. We always thought and assured New Zealand that its tour could have gone without any trouble and events proved that," said Rana."Unfortunately international perception, as very strongly influenced by international media, is not in our control but we still think that international cricket in Pakistan is safe," Rana said.West Indies is due in Pakistan in late January for three Tests and three One-day Internationals. Australia is to tour Pakistan from September next year.The International Cricket Council (ICC) last month approved neutral venues for countries facing security problems, and West Indies is pushing hard to play Pakistan in Kenya while Australia has offered to host Pakistan instead of touring.Sharjah and Dhaka, which now meet ICC standards to host Tests, are also being considered as venues for a Pakistan-Australia series."It's unfortunate that Pakistan cricket is suffering but you can't blame any team for having reservations on security because Pakistan is declared a war zone," said former Pakistan captain turned politician Imran Khan."Two English players refused to tour India which is more safer than Pakistan, so you can't help it," Khan said."Although I think it's safe to play in Pakistan international teams will not be easily convinced," he said.But another former national captain, Intikhab Alam, said Pakistan should play on neutral venues."Unfortunately circumstances are such that Pakistan will have to play its matches on neutral venues like Sharjah or Dhaka," Alam said."The PCB has to earn revenues through series and if the Pakistan team doesnt play, where will it earn money," he said.

AFP
Copyright AFP 2001

Extras:
Pak cricket could die, fears Chappell
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