हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

ADCCB begins damage control exercise

Published: Tuesday, April 27, 2004, 17:07 [IST]
 
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Abu Dhabi:In a bid to rescue an exhibition match between Indian and Pakistani XI's in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the top official of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Control Board (ADCCB) has gone to India, newspapers said.

Before reportedly flying out, ADCCB president and managing director B R Shetty told Gulf News that invitations had already been sent to Indian and Pakistani officials to attend the 100,000-dollar inaugural match set for May 14 at the new Zayed Stadium.

"We are expecting Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar Khan and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary S K Nair to attend," Shetty told the daily on Tuesday.

After BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya revealed on Monday that he was unaware that Indian and Pakistani teams would be playing in the oil-rich emirate, the Press Trust of India carried a Nair statement saying the game had not been approved and BCCI cricketers would not be released to play.

However Shetty said: "I have spoken to Dalmiya and apart from inviting him, we have urged him to send us a message on the inaugural match. For us it is a matter of great pride that almost all the top players from both India and Pakistan have accepted our invitation to come and kick start international action at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium."

Cancellation would prove embarrassing at the highest level in the UAE capital where Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan, ADCCB chairman, had himself announced the game.

Sheikh Nahyan is minister for higher education and a favoured son of revered UAE President Sheikh Zayed.

"We thank the Indian and Pakistan cricket Boards and the players who have all agreed to support cricket in Abu Dhabi," the minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Sources in the BCCI said that Abu Dhabi officials had privately requested the players from both sides to take part in the match. Emirati newspapers reported an enthusiastic response.

Sourav Ganguly was billed to lead a near full-strength team against a Pakistan side captained by Inzamam-ul-Haq in the day-night encounter in a country where Asian expatriates make up the majority of the population.

India have not played official cricket in the UAE since March, 2000 following a directive from the Government to avoid off-shore venues like Abu Dhabi's neighbouring emirate, Sharjah, following a match-fixing scandal.

India and Pakistan resumed bilateral cricket ties this year with the recent Test and One-day series in Pakistan, but the Indian Government is yet to officially lift its ban on venues like Sharjah.

Abu Dhabi officials have stressed that the 50-overs-a-side match next month was not an official One-day International.

Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag are the only two Indian stars missing from the line-up announced by the organisers.

The Pakistan team is the same that played in the recent series against India barring injured fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

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