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|'Facilities in Pak stadiums are excellent'|
Wednesday, February 18 2004 17:55 Hrs (IST)
Shetty told that the facilities for players, including dressing rooms, and the media was excellent and can be compared with any Indian stadium.
"They have huge stadiums with less capacity as they want to accommodate people and at the same time give them maximum comforts. They have ladies enclosure, senior citizens enclosure and even enclosure for special children (handicapped)," he added.
"As far as facilities were concerned in Pakistan there is no complaint whatsoever and the security aspect is being handled by Yashovardhan Azad while I and Amrit Mathur (BCCI's communication director) were in charge of facilities for players and the press," Shetty said.
When asked about general feeling for the forthcoming tour, starting from next month, Shetty said, "Even a common Pakistani is very eager to see Indian cricketers play in Pakistan."
"With the Pakistan President (Pervez Musharraf) himself keen to host the Indians and closely monitoring the security arrangements for the Indian players, it is certain that they want this tour to be a big success as the image of Pakistan has not been very good in the recent past and would like to change all that with clean conduct of the series," he added.
Shetty said, "The Indo-Pak matches played anywhere in the world are of high-voltage ties so tight security is a must and if the tour goes off smoothly it will be a feather in the cap for the hosts."
"Moreover, there is a huge financial revenue for the hosts and the successful conduct of the series (three Test and five One-dayers) will have a positive impact on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in particular and on their country's image in general," he added.
"The people of Pakistan have seen only Sachin Tendulkar play in Pakistan and they want to see players like VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan in action especially after their good showing in Australia recently," Shetty, who is also the joint secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), said.
Asked about a recent report that Karachi and Peshwar, the two most sensitive cities in Pakistan, may not host any matches, Shetty said, "Even I was shocked to read about this new development as the general public and the facilities were quite good."
"However, I cannot comment much on these venues because the security aspect is being handled by Azad. But I can only say that we did not experience any hostility in these two cities and on the contrary the public were quite enthusiastic about the forthcoming tour," Shetty added.
"We also inspected a new stadium on the outskirts of Multan which boosted of modern facilities and could be compared with the best in our country," he said.
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