Pakistan to send inspection team to India

Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:The Pakistan Cricket Board is sending a two-member inspection team to India to clear venues for next month's tour of India but it would not examine security, an official said.

"Basically it's a venue assessment committee and the date of the team's visit will be finalised only after the Indian Board confirms the venues of the three-match Test and five-match one-day series," PCB spokesman Abbas Zaidi told AFP.

It will be Pakistan's first full tour across the border since 1999 and follows the easing of political tensions between the two countries in 2003.

India lifted a ban on bilateral sporting relations in October 2003, which was followed in March-April 2004 by the first Indian cricket tour of Pakistan in 15 years.

Zaidi said that Lahore police official Sohail Khan and the PCB's general manager of cricket operations Zakir Khan would go to India to check the facilities but denied it would assess security, as a three-member Indian delegation did before last year's tour.

The two boards have already confirmed the match schedule for the tour and hope to agree on the venues later this week.

The two sides will play three Tests beginning on March 4, 12 and 20 followed by the one-day series which starts on March 28 and ends on April 9.

Pakistan's 1999 tour was made possible despite threats from Hindu fundamentalist party Shiv Sena, who also dug up a pitch at Feroze Shah Kotla stadium. Pakistan played three Tests and featured in a tri-series one-day tournament.

Zaidi denied reports that Pakistan have already shown reservations about playing in Bombay and Ahmedabad over security fears.

"We have not set any pre-series conditions," he added. "We have just requested the Indian board to schedule matches more at places close to Pakistani border like in Mohali and New Delhi."

Pakistan leaves for India on February 25.

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