India to tour Pakistan in January 2006

Published: Saturday, May 7, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today said India would arrive on its second tour of Pakistan in three years in the first week of January next year and would finish the bilateral series by February 15.

"I am not sure exactly on which date India would arrive but it is likely to be in the first week on January. However, I am certain that the series would end on February 15 and the six-nation Asia Cup would begin from February 18," PCB's Director (Cricket Operations) Saleem Altaf said from Lahore.

India would play three Tests and five one-day internationals. They are likely to arrive less than two weeks after England would have completed their first tour of Pakistan since 2000.

Altaf presumed that PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan would be proceeding to Kuala Lumpur this month for the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting with a tentative itinerary of India's tour of Pakistan.

"The finalisation of any tour itinerary is an ongoing process and there is a strong possibility that PCB chairman would be carrying an interim itinerary to Kuala Lumpur where he would definitely meet Indian officials."

"But while saying this, I am not saying that the tour itinerary has been finalised or would be finalised in Kuala Lumpur. Nevertheless, we should remember that it's the prerogative of the host country to propose the dates and venues of the series," Altaf said.

India last year made a flying visit to Karachi and Peshawar because of security reasons and in a tit-for-tat policy, Pakistan made a short stay in Ahmedabad for the fourth one-day international.

However, the situation is certain to be different when India tour Pakistan next time as the Cricket Board is adamant to organise a Test in Karachi.

"Karachi crowd showed the world last year that they deserve longer version of the game. They (crowd) were disciplined and sporting when they whole-heartedly applauded the Indian team for winning the tall scoring match."

"Besides, Karachi has one of the best grounds and the hotel facilities are also excellent," PCB insiders said, adding that England is also likely to play a Test and two one-day internationals in the port city.

Altaf said the schedule of the Asia Cup would also be finalised during the Kuala Lumpur meeting. He said the tournament would run for 18 days and would be competed by United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong besides the four Asian Test nations.

On the prospects of hosting next year's ICC Champions Trophy, Altaf said the Cricket Board was keen and willing.

"We are monitoring the situation as the ICC has set India a June 1 deadline. Let the ball land in our court and then we will start preparing. But learning from India's experience, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has promised for giving tax concessions and if required, we can give this in writing to the ICC. Naturally, playing host to such a prestigious event also billed as the mini-World Cup would be a great honour and I don't think we would waste the opportunity of organising it," Altaf said.

BCCI's top officials on Thursday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to request for tax exemption.

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