Pakistan agrees to play ODI in Ahmedabad

Published: Friday, February 18, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Pakistan has agreed to play a One-day International in Ahmedabad, ending a row over venues that threatened the team's first cricket tour of India in six years, an official said.

"We have agreed to play an additional One-day match in Ahmedabad and the proposed Test in Ahmedabad will now be played in Kolkata," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Friday.

"The tour may get delayed by three to four days," he added.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday accepted its Pakistani counterpart's request not to play a Test in Ahmedabad, where religious riots three years ago left 2,000 mainly Muslim people dead.

However it had proposed that the western city should host an unscheduled extra One-day International to appease local politicians and cricket officials.

"We hope a final itinerary will be announced by the BCCI later on Friday. We are in constant touch with them so we can agree on the dates for the tour to start because they have a lot of work to do," said Khan.

"I am happy that the matter is resolved and the tour will get on smoothly."

Pakistan are due to leave on February 25 for the seven-week tour, which will now include three Tests and six One-day Internationals.

Khan said the PCB's recently appointed director of cricket operations, the former Pakistan fast bowler Salim Altaf, would be the manager of the team which will be announced on Saturday.

Pakistan's manager on their tour of Australia, Haroon Rasheed, was not considered for the job although his contract lasts until July this year.

The PCB had said its reluctance to play in Ahmedabad was based on security fears and the recent history of the city.

Mohali and Bangalore will host the other two Tests while Kochi, Vishakapatnam, Jamshedpur, Kanpur and Delhi are to host the other One-day matches.

India's main Opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, last week urged the government to cancel the tour if Pakistan declined to play in Ahmedabad.

India refused to play Tests in volatile Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, and in the northwestern border town of Peshawar and instead played One-day matches in the two cities on their tour of Pakistan last year.

The rival countries resumed long-stalled sporting ties last year as part of a general political detente, with India's cricketers touring Pakistan for the first time in 15 years.

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