England agree format and dates for India tour

Published: Thursday, September 1, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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London:England's tour of India next year will comprise three Tests and seven One-day internationals, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said.

It added the agreed outline programme, drawn up with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), provisionally has the Test series being played between March 8-29 inclusive with the One-dayers due to take place between April 4-22 inclusive.

The ECB said it had been told by the BCCI that venues for all tour matches would be confirmed by mid-October.

England, who play the final Test of the Ashes series against Australia at The Oval next week, travel to Pakistan before the end of this year for a Test and One-day series.

England will play three Tests in Multan, Faisalabad and Lahore and five One-day internationals during the tour from October 26 to December 21.

But they objected to playing a Test in Karachi on security grounds, opting for a One-day international instead, and there will be no match in the north-western city of Peshawar due to its proximity to the violence-prone border with Afghanistan.

In the aftermath of the September 11 2001 attacks, teams from Australia and the West Indies have refused to play in Pakistan because of security fears.

Karachi had earlier been rejected as a Test venue by South Africa and India after a bomb blast outside the New Zealand's team hotel in May 2002 killed 14 people, including 11 French naval engineers.

However, during Australia's tour of England, on July 7, some 56 people, including four suicide bombers, died in four separate bomb blasts in London.

There was a bungled repeat on July 21 when the bombs failed to go off. But Pakistan captain Wasim Akram said the fact Australia continued as planned in England proved his country was being unfairly singled out as a security risk.

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