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|PCB talks tough, rules out neutral venues|
Friday, February 13 2004 19:18 Hrs (IST)
PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, a retired Foreign Secretary, said there was no official word from India about any change in the cricket team's plans to tour this country from March 11 and that he was hopeful that the tour would go ahead. Should that not happen, it would affect the recent warmth in thebilateral relations between the two countries, he said.
Khan said there has been no official word about any postponement from either the BCCI or the Government. "We have not not got any word but we are prepared to wait. Even dates (for the matches) have been exchanged. We will not accept a third country. The question does not arise," he said.
Asked whether the PCB would approach the International Cricket Council (ICC) if the tour is postponed, Khan said the PCB has a right to seek a review of the decision but it did not want such a situation to arise. "Let the two Boards decide or the Governments sort it out."
To a question if the series could be played after the Indian elections, he said Pakistan already has commitments to go to Holland and Canada and it would be very hot after April.
Khan also said postponement of the series would affect the recent warmth in bilateral relations.
"This decision (reports from India on likely postponement) will affect the relations that have been improving in the recent past. This is a unilateral decision taken without consulting us," he said.
Observing that political problems can be resolved only by political leaders, Khan said it was now for the Government to sort out the issue. "The Government knows about it. We have also talked to them."
Khan said he can talk to the BCCI but "other things have to sorted out at the Government level."
Maintaining that he personally felt that the tour should go on, the PCB chief, however, made it clear that Pakistan would not play India in a third country. "One thing is for sure that we will not go and play at a neutral venue like wewent to Sharjah... the Board is firm on this."
Khan said Pakistan was taking all possible steps to provide the best security to Indian players and the BCCI team visiting the country to assess the security arrangements went to Faisalabad and Multan on Friday.
He said he would hold talks with the three-member BCCI team on Sunday to discuss issues relating to security, hospitality and ground conditions.
PCB awaits BCCI's response, may approach ICC