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Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2001, 21:47 [IST]
India pulls out of Bangladesh tri-series
Islamabad: The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will meet in Sharjah in January 2002 to decide on the relevance of its existence in the light of Indian government's decision not to play against Pakistan for political reasons, according to ACC chairman Lt Gen Tauqir Zia. The Indian government's decision not to permit its team to play against its neighbour has affected Asian cricket seriously, said Zia, who is also president of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in an interview in Islamabad. He said it now appeared that India had decided not to play in the proposed triangular tournament with Pakistan in Bangladesh in January 2002, citing security reasons. "I do not buy it. India has to decide what it wants to do. You cannot stretch other nations to their limits. What if some other countries decide tomorrow that they will never play (against) India for political reasons, where are you? Or in retaliation, they may say we are not going to play India any more, so what happens? Who is going to suffer?" He asked. Pakistan visits Bangladesh in January 2002 to play two Tests and a triangular tournament also featuring India. Starved of funds, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) was keen on organising the series. Zia said the proposed ACC meet has been primarily called to discuss and decide the relevance of ACC as a body in view of India consistently avoiding playing Pakistan. "Asian cricket can not flourish if the countries can not act together. Particularly when India not playing Pakistan, it is not healthy for Asian cricket nor Indian or Pakistan cricket," he said. Zia said the two countries were not able to play even though the two cricket Boards enjoyed the best of relations. In this regard, he referred to his full support to BCCI in its recent stand-off against ICC over match referee Mike Denness' rulings against six Indian players in one go. Zia, one of the senior most serving Generals of Pakistan Army, said, "Indian and Pakistan Boards have best of relations and that relationship has nothing to do with prevailing relations two countries. You have seen in the recent times and in the past we backed up each other very much in the ICC. "I think the Indian Board and the Indian government have to decide. Whether the Indian Board would be able to convince its government is entirely up to it. I think BCCI president Dalmiya should be able to get on with it. I believe he is meeting the Indian Sports Minister to convince her about the need to resume matches between the two countries."