PCB dubs Zimbabwe~~s decision as ~~fair~~

Published: Friday, June 11, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) called Zimbabwe's decision to pull out of all Test cricket for the rest of the 2004 season "fair", but said Pakistan would play six One-day matches or a tri-series when they hosted the African nation in October.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) had on Thursday announced that the strife-torn Zimbabwe have pulled out of all Test cricket for the rest of the 2004 season.

The announcement came after a meeting between Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) officials and representatives of the game's governing body in Dubai.

"In the end it was a fair decision for Zimbabwe and now we would want to play six One-day games or pursue one more team to play a tri-series One-day tournament when we host Zimbabwe in October," PCB chief executive Ramiz Raja said.

"The issue was put across by the ZCU and there is no acrimony after the decision and would be acceptable for all the Boards of the world," Raja said.

Pakistan was scheduled to host Zimbabwe for two Tests and five One-day games in October this year while Zimbabwe had two Tests at home against England in November which are all now postponed.

"Pakistan would find it hard to market six One-day games against a weakened Zimbabwe team but under the ICC rules we are not allowed to ask for a replacement team," Raja said.

The decision came after 15 senior white Zimbabwe players went on strike following the sacking of the captain Heath Streak in April.

Streak had objected to the selection policies of the ZCU which he claimed were compromising the success of the national team.

Australia's two-Test series in Zimbabwe was cancelled last month because of the weakness of the opposition.

The ZCU offered the tourists the opportunity to pull out, which was accepted by the Australian authorities.

The weakened Zimbabwe team was thrashed in all five One-day games and two Tests by Sri Lanka in May followed by a 3-0 defeat in the One-day series by world champions Australia.

"We would write to teams who are free in October to play a tri-series alongside Zimbabwe and hope that the plan is materialised," Raja said.

Pakistan cricket suffered in the wake the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States as Australia and the West Indies refused to tour the country and the series were played at neutral venues.

Pakistan hosted Bangladesh, South Africa and New Zealand last year while archrival India's first tour to Pakistan in 15 years brought a windfall of 23 million dollars in revenues.

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