Mani hopeful of a solution to Ahmedabad row

Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani was hopeful of a solution to the controversy surrounding Ahmedabad as a Test venue even as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials get ready to finalise the itinerary for the upcoming Indo-Pak series.

Mani, who arrived in Delhi on Sunday, has several issues to address including tax exemption for 2006 Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in India during his stay in the city.

The ICC chief is expected to talk to top government officials, including sports minister Sunil Dutt, whom he will meet on February 18, and former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Even though Mani would be present in Delhi when the BCCI's working committee meets on Thursday to decide the itinerary for the Pakistan series, the ICC chief made it clear that he would not interfere with it.

"It's a matter between the two countries -- India and Pakistan. It's a bilateral issue and ICC will certainly not interfere in it. I hope things will be sorted out in a couple of days," Mani said.

Although BCCI has already shortlisted the venues, the stalemate over Ahmedabad, which witnessed communal riots in 2002, has delayed finalising of the itinerary.

Mani said he was also hoping the visit of India's external affairs minister Natwar Singh to Pakistan will solve the matter.

"The matter can get sorted out in the meeting of Mr Singhwith Pakistan officials," he said.

"Security is a issue which cannot be handled by anyone except the government. Moreover, cricket and politics cannot be separated in this part of the continent," he said.

Mani agreed that the dispute concerning BCCI's telecast rights had come as a dampener with just 10 days to go for the start of the "biggest" cricket series.

"Of course this is (a dampener). But the matter is in court and I am not supposed to comment on it. But whatever the case, this is the biggest series in the world. The cricket following in the two countries is fantastic. This is a great series which will generate a lot of goodwill," he said.

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