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Thatscricket - News - Akram wants India to tour Pak with open mind

Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 18:09 [IST]
 
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Karachi:Former Pakistan great Wasim Akram has called on India's cricketers to put aside security concerns and press ahead with their tour of Pakistan next month.

Wasim, who retired from the game with a world record of 502 One-day and 414 Test wickets in May last year, urged India to follow the example of his team which toured India in 1998-99 despite threats from fundamentalists.

"My request to Indian players is to hit security concerns out of their minds and tour Pakistan with open minds and smiles because people all over the world are anxiously waiting for the series," Wasim saidon Wednesday.

"I know it's tough to overcome safety concerns and Indian players are concerned in the same manner we were before our tour a few years back," he said.

"But Indians must follow the Pakistan team's example which toured India despite pronounced death threats from fundamentalists, and the whole of India welcomed us on the tour," said Wasim.

"I know the cultures of both Pakistan and India, people are mad about cricket and I see no problems for Indian players in Pakistan."

A three-member Indian delegation is visiting Pakistan to assess security, which is seen as the last obstacle to India's first tour of Pakistan for 15 years.

India is due to play a three-day game, three Tests and five One-dayers on the March-April tour but India's players including captain Sourav Ganguly have expressed fears over security.

"We are worried about the security and we all have to take the concerns of our families into account," Ganguly said on returning from Australia.

Wasim acknowledged the Indian players' concerns but said a guarantee of security for the team by Pakistan's Government could be relied upon.

"I know the families remain concerned, the same happened to our families but we toured just because of assurances from Indian Government and here the Pakistan Government has promised full security so the tour must go on," said Wasim, who expects a close series between the two teams.

"Indian batting is definitely superior but they would be tired after a hectic series Down Under while their bowling would struggle on good batting tracks and in comparison Pakistan's bowling can come up on any track," said Wasim.

Extras
Pakistan assures India 'foolproof' security
afp.com

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