Desperate Pakistan to use ICC meet to revive cricket

Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2002, 23:10 [IST]
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Karachi: Pakistan will use a meeting this week with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to press for its return to hosting matches following several nations' refusal to play in Pakistan due to security concerns, officials said on Wednesday. ICC president Malcolm Gray, world cricket's top official, and other ICC members are due to arrive in Lahore Thursday for a December 7-8 meeting where the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will seek a resumption of international cricket activities that were halted in the wake of last year's September 11 attacks. "It is a fact-finding mission just like the one he did in India," PCB chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia said of Gray's visit. Prior to the meeting in Lahore, Gray was scheduled on Thursday to hold talks with Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf and the high commissioners of India, Australia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. "We hope the rest of the world agrees to visit us," Zia said. Pakistan was forced to play its series against the West Indies and Australia at neutral venues earlier this year. Pakistan said it lost $ 20-25 million in revenue in the last year due to the relocation abroad of the home series. "Our stance is that now we won't play at neutral venues, and it would be only on the government's advice that we play at neutral venues," Zia said. The PCB will also use the opportunity to seek an end to India's two-year boycott on play with Pakistan over concerns Islamabad was fomenting unrest in Indian- administered Kashmir, Zia said. Zia said he did not rule out considering the neutral venue option to break the ice. "If we get enough revenue, which we have lost already, it would be silly on our part not to consider playing at neutral venues with India because we don't want to lose any more money," he said.

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