Thatscricket - News - Pak tour: India to seek security assurances

Published: Friday, January 16, 2004, 17:36 [IST]
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New Delhi:India's cricket team will seek security assurances from officials before embarking on a ground-breaking tour of Pakistan in March, it was reported.

Sourav Ganguly's men, currently playing in Astralia. believe more time was being spent in trying to generate revenues for the high-profile tour than on its security aspects, the respected 'India Today' magazine said.

The weekly quoted unnamed players as saying they wanted the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to send an advance team of officials to Pakistan to check out security and playing arrangements.

"Is anyone in the BCCI going to do a recce before the tour and see what the arrangements are for the team?," the magazine quoted a player as saying.

"We get a feeling they are happy to just have the tour and send us off. There seems to be more talk of television revenues rather than security which is disturbing."

Another player said: "We don't mind going at all but feel everything is being rushed."

The March-April visit, which features three Tests and five One-day internationals, will be India's first full tour of Pakistan since 1989.

Cricket executives have been quoted in recent days as saying the long-awaited series could generate up to 30 million dollars for the cash-strapped Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

The dates and venues for the tour have not yet been finalised, but it is expected that matches will also be staged in Karachi and Peshawar, where South Africa and New Zealand declined to play this season due to security reasons.

The magazine noted that even though Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Pakistan earlier this month for a regional summit, the security concerns for the cricketers would be greater.

"While the Prime Minister's visit has upped the ante on the series, security experts in India and some officials of the BCCI believe there is a big difference between protecting one man for 24 hours inside a room and protecting about 20 in open spaces full of tens of thousands of people over four weeks," it said.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said he had been in regular touch with PCB officials regarding all aspects of the tour, including security for the players.

Pakistan had largely remained out-of-bounds for cricket teams in the aftermath of the US-led strikes on nearby Afghanistan in 2001. But tours by Bangladesh, South Africa and New Zealand earlier this season passed off smoothly.

PCB chief executive Rameez Raja told the magazine: "After hosting South Africa last year, we are well-rehearsed about security."

Indo-Pak first match likely on March 7

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