BCCI seeks PM~~s help to resume Indo-Pak ties
Published: Sunday, May 4, 2003, 2:13 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Pakistan ready to play India at neutral venues
New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has sought Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's intervention to resume bilateral matches with Pakistan to avoid international isolation, a news agency reported on Saturday. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya urged Vajpayee in a letter to use his office to favourably consider the Board's request. The letter was handed over to the prime minister a couple of days ago by board official and MP Rajiv Shukla and was under consideration, the Press Trust of India news agency said. "If India does not play Pakistan, the equilibrium of world cricket will be severely affected because the World Championship cannot be decided. India may be totally isolated in world cricket," the letter said. Dalmiya and his Pakistani counterpart Tauqir Zia were scheduled to meet in Dubai on Saturday to resolve the impasse arising out of the Indian government's refusal to sanction bilateral cricketing ties with its neighbour. Pakistan last month pulled out of the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka after the Indian government refused its team permission to play a scheduled Test series in Pakistan in protest at Islamabad's alleged support of militancy in Kashmir. The Indian team, however, is allowed to play Pakistan in multi-nation events, like the World Cup and Asia Cup. The two sides met in the recent World Cup in South Africa in March. India have not played a Test match in Pakistan since 1989, while Pakistan played three Tests in India in 1999-2000 despite threats from Hindu fundamentalists. The BCCI has already proposed resuming bilateral tours at neutral venues but said it was willing to abide by the government policy. "The Board fully appreciated and honoured the government's stand in this respect. But the BCCI, being a member of the world cricket parent body the International Cricket Council (ICC), it is now in a rather embarrassing position," the letter said. "We have always abided by the Government's policy and would continue to do so in future. The sole purpose of our appeal is to ensure that the real winner is the glorious game of cricket," it added.