Thatscricket - News - 'We are not worried about Pak tour, but security'

Published: Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 20:15 [IST]
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Kolkata:India's cricket captain Sourav Ganguly played down doubts over next month's historic tour of Pakistan, but stressed he was concerned about the team's safety during the six-week visit.

"We are not worried about the Pakistan tour, but we are worried about the security," Ganguly told reporters on his return from a tour of Australia on Tuesday.

"We all have to take the concern of our families into account. I do not want to comment any further till I have spoken to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), officials."

Ganguly said he will meet Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the BCCI, over the next few days to discuss the Pakistan tour.

India is scheduled to play three Tests and five One-day Internationals during the March-April visit, their first Test tour of Pakistan since 1989. A three-member BCCI delegation, which includes security expert Yashovardhan Azad, is currently in Pakistan to assess the safety and organisational aspects of the tour.

Indian and Pakistani officials will announce the itinerary and venues of the tour after the delegation completes its assessment. The Pakistan Government has promised top security to the Indian cricketers, but many former Indian players remain unconvinced it was the right time to tour Pakistan.

"Nobody can give any guarantee against terrorism," said Arun Lal, secretary of the Indian Cricket Players Association (IPCA). "Security definitely must be a big issue playing in Pakistan. The whole world is concerned and players would definitely be worried."

Mohinder Amarnath, who toured Pakistan thrice in 1978, 1982 and 1984, said the upcoming tour was being rushed. "I don't think security will be as big a concern as it being made out to be, but why such a hurry to go to Pakistan?" Amarnath asked. "The BCCI should have waited a few more months. The Indians have just returned from a hard tour of Australia and deserve some rest."

The Indians toured Australia for two months, drawing the four-Test series 1-1 before losing the One-day finals to the world champions.

The Pakistan tour was announced in October after the Indian Government withdrew its three-year ban on bilateral cricket ties with the arch-rivals following a thaw in diplomatic relations.

Australia and the West Indies refused to play in Pakistan due to security fears after the US-led strikes in neighbouring Afghanisan in 2001. New Zealand were forced to abandon their tour of Pakistan in 2002 after a bomb blast outside the team hotel in Karachi on the morning of a Test match.

But matches by Bangladesh, South Africa and New Zealand in Pakistan this season passed off peacefully.

'Indian team was the best ever to tour Aus'

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