Pakistan ready to play a Test in Mumbai

Published: Thursday, February 17, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:Pakistan on Thursday expressed its willingness to play a Test match in Mumbai and said that it would hold discussions with BCCI to resolve the differences over playing in Ahmedabad during the team's forthcoming tour of India.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan, who had an hour long breakfast meeting with external affairs minister K Natwar Singh, said the entire issue of finalising the venues would be sorted out on Thursday as time was running out.

"I will be speaking to BCCI officials today (Thursday) to sort out the issue relating to Ahmedabad," Shaharyar said in Islamabad.

"I am sure we will be sorting out the entire issue over the venues today (Thursday) as we have very little time left."

The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) working committee ismeeting in New Delhi on Thursday to finalise the venues for the three Test and five One-dayers to be played during the series, the first to be held after 1999.

Asked whether Pakistan was willing to at least play a One-day International at Ahmedabad, the PCB chairman side skipped the question saying he was not in a position to comment on it and it was for both the Boards to sort out the issue.

"I can't say anything about it. We have reservations in going to Ahmedabad at all. But if the two Boards agree, we will see if that can be overcomed."

Shaharyar said PCB had already conveyed its willingness about playing in Mumbai to its Indian counterpart.

Though the Indian government has made it clear that it was up to the two Boards to decide on the venues, Shaharyar said both the governments were involved in one way or other in the whole process as the last year's Indian cricket team's tour of Pakistan gave a big push towards reviving bilateralrelations between the neighbours.

"The Governments are trying to make sure that Pakistan's tour of India will go ahead equally smoothly. But ultimately it is up to the Boards to decide and finalise the venues," he added.

Shaharyar, who is a former foreign secretary, hoped that the differences over finalising the venues would not lead to any postponement of the tour.

"We should not let that happen," he said.

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