~~We~~ll play India at neutral venue on reciprocal basis~~
Published: Saturday, December 7, 2002, 20:42 [IST]
Musharraf wants Indian cricketers to play in Pakistan
Karachi: President Pervez Musharraf said Pakistan would play arch-rival India at a neutral venue only if their return series was also played outside the two countries, the Pakistan Cricket Board said on Saturday. "I would like India to send its cricket team, but if they have not yet opened the way for bilateral ties we would only play at a neutral venue provided our return series in 2004 is also played outside India," Musharraf told International Cricket Council (ICC) president Malcolm Gray, the PCB said. "I sent our polo team to India earlier this year overruling all advice and the team got a huge reception in India, so sport should continue," Musharraf said. "Cricket may be different because it involves emotions of billions of people and that could be one reason of India not reviving cricket ties." India is scheduled to tour Pakistan in April-May next year for three Tests and as many Limited Over Internationals, but the fate of the tour hangs in the balance with New Delhi sticking to its stance of not playing Pakistan. Gray is in Pakistan in part to study the possibility of a return of international cricket to Pakistan, which has been hit hard after the US-led coalition launched its military campaign in neighbouring Afghanistan to dislodge the hardline Taleban regime. During an 80-minute meeting with Gray on Thursday, Musharraf guaranteed the security of "every foreign team visiting Pakistan". The cricket series of the South Asian nuclear rivals generate enormous interest - and gate receipts - on both sides of the border.