Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Pak tour forces Patel and Pathan to skip exams

Published: Saturday, October 19, 2002, 0:08 [IST]
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New Delhi:India's young cricketers Irfan Pathan and Parthiv Patel will forego their school-leaving examinations this month in order to represent the country on the tour of Pakistan.

But education officials in the western state of Gujarat, where both the 19-year-olds hail from, have refused to make any concessions for the duo, leaving them no option but drop a year at school.

India's first full tour of Pakistan in almost 15 years, which begins on March 10 and ends April 18, clashes with the school-leaving exams in which both Patel and Pathan were due to appear.

This is the third time that Patel, India's Test wicketkeeper, has been forced to bypass the exams to honour his cricketing commitments at national or international level.

Pathan, the promising left-arm seamer who made a big impression on his first senior tour to Australia earlier this year, also missed his final exams last year.

"It's not a difficult choice," said Patel. "I would prefer to play for my country any day, but studies are also important. Maybe I will pass next year."

Gujarat's education minister Anandiben Patel refused to entertain request from the players' families to allow them to take the exams after their return from Pakistan. "There is no provision in the law for students to ask for a later date for their exams," the minister said.

"If we make an exemption for these cricketers, lot of others will queue up citing various reasons other than sports." The examinations, held all over India in March-April, have dampened the enthusiasm for students towards the long-awaited cricket series.

"It will be difficult to keep my eyes off the television, but my parents have told me to concentrate only on studies," said Delhi student Rajnish Gupta. "It's not fair for India to play against Pakistan when the exams are on."

Sourav Ganguly's Team India is due to play five One-day Internationals and three Test matches on their first full tour of Pakistan since 1989.

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