Ahmedabad to be cleared as Test venue after probe

Published: Thursday, January 20, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Pakistani cricket chiefs said they had to wait for a report before clearing the riot city of Ahmedabad as one of the venues for the national team's first full tour of India in six years.

"I will not comment on any venue like Ahmedabad, or any other city for that matter, until our team gives us a report," Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Abbas Zaidi told AFP on Thursday.

India has proposed the major western city of Ahmedabad -- where at least 2,000 people were killed in bloody Muslim-Hindu religious riots in 2002 -- as one of the Test venues for the tour starting next month.

Pakistan is predominantly Muslim, as were those who died at Ahmedabad, while India is majority Hindu.

"We are still waiting an official announcement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India and would clear the itinerary only after our two-men venue inspection committee gives us a report by next week," Zaidi added.

PCB official Zakir Khan will accompany police official Sohail Khan to India and inspect all the venues before submitting a report by next week.

The Pakistani team are due to arrive in India on February 25 to play three Tests and five one-day games.

Former captain Javed Miandad disapproved of using Ahmedabad for one of the Tests.

"Instead of Ahmedabad, which has always been a troubled venue, I would have liked Bombay to have hosted a match, because it's a great, cricket-loving city," Miandad told AFP.

"When a city is so troubled and has a history of riots they should not take such a risk. We had to field in helmets when we played a Test in Ahmedabad in 1987," added Miandad, who coached Pakistan when they last toured India in 1999.

Miandad said major cities Bombay and Calcutta should not have been excluded.

"Pakistan last played in Bombay in 1979, which is a long way back, and after I met Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackery last year I see no problem in hosting an Indo-Pak match in Bombay."

Shiv Sena is an influential right-wing Hindu movement in India.

"Thackery told me that he had no objection towards hosting Pakistan. If both governments are ready I am ready to play my part for Bombay, just like we did efforts to host a match in Karachi when India came here last year," said Miandad.

Indian cricket board sources told AFP in New Delhi that Madras has been kept on stand-by if either government objects to Ahmedabad as a venue for security reasons.

The proposed venues for the five one-dayers are Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Kanpur, Jamshedpur and New Delhi.

Mohali, in north India, and the southern metropolis of Bangalore will host the other two Tests.

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