Pakistan, ICC reject Tangiers as neutral Test venue

Published: Monday, August 12, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Tangiers (Morocco): Pakistan on Monday turned down a proposal to host their Test series against Australia in Morocco and found itself backed fully by cricket's world governing body.

Abdulrehman Bukhatir, the chief organiser of One-day cricket in United Arab Emirates and Morocco, had on Sunday offered Tangiers as a possible neutral venue for the Test series in October after Australia declined to tour Pakistan for security reasons. But Pakistan captain Waqar Younis rejected the proposal, saying he wanted to play the series closer to home where the conditions and crowd support suited his team. "Tangiers is a great venue for cricket, but since the Australia Tests are a home series for us, we would rather play at a place where the pitch conditions and crowd support us," Waqar said. The Pakistani captain declined to state his preferred option, but the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka and the Gulf Emirate of Sharjah are being touted as possible venues. International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Malcolm Speed, here to witness Monday's opening match of the Morocco Cup between Pakistan and South Africa, said it was too early to consider Tangiers a Test venue. "I doubt if the wicket will last five days. I am very impressed by the facilities here, but we are only looking at One-dayers for the time being," Speed said. Speed said a final decision on where the Tests will be played rested with the Australian and Pakistani authorities. The keenly-awaited series between two of the best teams in modern cricket has been slotted for October, soon after the ICC Champions Trophy tournament in Sri Lanka in September. It is still uncertain if the series will be held at all since Pakistani cricket authorities are reportedly angry at Australia's refusal to undertake the tour. But if the series goes ahead, a neutral venue is expected to be finalised within the next fortnight. "It's an important event which we all are looking forward to," Speed said.

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