Pakistan may ask for changes in tour venues

Published: Saturday, February 5, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:Pakistan is likely to suggest some changes in the venues proposed by India for their first tour across the border in six years, cricket officials said.

A Pakistani security team which returned from India last week is about to finalise its report which will be presented to the chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) early next week.

A final picture will emerge after deliberations by the cricket authorities on the basis of the security report.

A member of the security team would not say whether they were proposing any changes in the venue, but other sources said the group would point out problems in infrastructure and raise question marks about certain venues.

"We will submit a report on the law and order, general infrastructure and security facilities available on the proposed venues and make some recommendation," a member of the team, Sohail Khan, told AFP on Friday.

The Pakistan team is due to arrive in India on February 25 to play three Tests and five one-day internationals as well as two additional tour matches.

Sohail Khan and the head of PCB cricket operations, Zakir Khan, toured India last week to assess the security at the proposed venues amid concern over security in the riot-hit city of Ahmedabad and a lack on facilities in Kanpur.

A former senior PCB official said the Pakistan board was most likely to object to playing in Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of the riot-scarred Indian state of Gujarat.

"Back in the 1987-1988 series, the Pakistan team was forced to field wearing helmets because of crowd trouble," the official who did not want to be named told AFP.

Ahmedabad -- proposed for one of three Tests -- bore the brunt of last year's Hindu-Muslim riots.

Nearly 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the riots triggered on February 27 by the burning to death of 59 Hindus allegedly by a Muslim mob.

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