We are eager to tour India: Inzamam

Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Pakistan's cricketers are eagerly awaiting their tour to India early next year to settle scores against their sporting archrivals, captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said.

"I look forward to the tour and every player in the team anxiously waits for the tour," Inzamam said on Tuesday.

"Since we are playing better than we did against India at home I think we will be in a better position to settle the score."

Pakistan on Monday announced it will tour India in February for three Test matches and five One-day Internationals, following India's tour of Pakistan earlier this year.

India's tour, their first since 1989, followed a thaw in relations between the nuclear neighbours who came close to a fourth war in 2002.

India won both the One-day and Test series during the March-April tour, their first-ever victory in Pakistan.

"Cricket between Pakistan and India is the most sought after and is watched by billions and with it the quality of cricket improves. The competitive level is very high when we play India," said Inzamam.

Pakistan last toured India in 1999 despite death threats and the digging-up of a pitch in New Delhi by Hindu fundamentalists.

"It's fantastic to play against India and cricket is followed like a religion there so it doubles the rivalry," said Inzamam, one of four surviving members from Pakistan's last tour.

"We looked after them well and we are also welcomed like heroes in India so it's a reciprocal feeling on both sides which is very heartening," he said.

Inzamam's side take on Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in a home tri-series from Thursday.

Experienced wicketkeeper Moin Khan, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar were also on the 1999 tour in which Pakistan drew a two-match Test series 1-1 but beat India in the Asian Test Championship match in Calcutta.

Pakistan also won a tri-series on that tour which also featured Sri Lanka.

"India came to Pakistan after their tour of Australia so they were well prepared. In the same way we will also be going to India after the Australia tour, which will help us a lot on the India tour," Inzamam said.

The tour programme is still being worked out. But Pakistan are likely to play the Tests first, probably starting on February 25, two weeks after their return from Australia.

Pakistan, who won the last three One-day matches against India at neutral venues, have also agreed to play a One-day International in India on November 13 this year to mark the 75th anniversary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

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