Thatscricket - News - Three-member panel to assess security in Pak

Published: Thursday, January 29, 2004, 1:18 [IST]
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Kolkata:India's cricket chiefs have named a three-member delegation to assess the security situation in Pakistan ahead of the national team's ice-breaking Test tour there in March.

Senior police official and security expert Yashovardhan Azad will join cricket officials Ratnakar Shetty and Amrit Mathur in the delegation due to visit Pakistan in early February, according to Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

"The three will assess the security and other arrangements for not only the Indian team, but also the accompanying media and fans," Dalmiya told reporters in Kolkata.

"The itinerary for the series will be finalised only after the delegation submits its report."

India is scheduled to play three Tests and five One-day internationals during the tour, their first full tour of Pakistan since 1989.

Azad, elder brother of former cricket international Kirti Azad, was given charge of the security of the Pakistani team on its last tour of India in early 1999.

Shetty is the joint secretary of the BCCI, while Mathur is its media manager and a former administrative manager of the national team.

The decision to send an advance security team follows media reports that the players, currently touring Australia, were worried about their safety during the tour.

"We get a feeling they are happy to just have the tour and send us off," an unnamed senior player was quoted as saying recently.

"There seems to be more talk of television revenues rather than security which is disturbing. We don't mind going at all but feel everything is being rushed "

Dalmiya, however, stressed that the safety of the players was of prime importance. "We have to take everything into account, that is why I say there has not been a delay in finalising the itinerary," he said.

"The tour process takes time. We want a perfect tour without any incidents."

It was reported in the media that the itinerary had not been finalised because of differences over playing in Karachi and Peshawar, two centres that were boycotted by South Africa last year due to security concerns.

It is said that Pakistan wanted the tour to start in Karachi, but the Indians preferred Lahore.

While there was agreement in playing Test matches at these two major centres, the Indians reportedly wanted the remaining Test to be played in Faisalabad or Rawalpindi instead of the North-Western city of Peshawar.

Off-field events mar run-up to Indo-Pak series

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