India unlikely to replace Sri Lanka in New Zealand

Published: Thursday, December 30, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:India is unlikely to accept any offer to play in New Zealand in January in place of the Sri Lankans, who cancelled a tour in the wake of the Asian tsunami tragedy, an official said.

India, the only major cricket-playing nation free of international commitments in January and February, was cited in New Zealand reports as a possible replacement for the Sri Lankans, who decided to fly home to be with their families.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official Amrit Mathur said any offer from New Zealand was likely to be rejected to give the players time to recuperate after a gruelling schedule that began in July and ended earlier this week in Bangladesh.

"We have not heard from New Zealand but even if we did the proposal was unlikely to be accepted," Mathur told AFP.

"The boys have been busy for six months and need rest before Pakistan tours India from the last week of February."

Mathur added the BCCI will take measures to raise funds for the victims of the havoc wrought by the tsunami tidal waves which were triggered by a huge earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Sunday.

An estimated 80,000 have been killed in Asia, including 22,800 in Sri Lanka and 10,850 in India, and thousands rendered homeless with the death toll expected to rise further.

"We can raise funds through charity matches and other means," Mathur said. "It is a horrific tragedy and it is our duty to help".

Pakistan has proposed organising a fund-raising match in the near future, featuring players from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, subject to the availability of the teams.

While India and Sri Lanka have no engagements at present, Pakistan's ongoing tour of Australia will continue through to the first week of February.

India's cricketers, meanwhile, will donate a day's fees to the affected families, Indian Cricket Players Association official Arun Lal said on Thursday.

"We will also organise charity auctions and functions to raise money," Lal said.

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