No changes in England itinerary, confirms BCCI

Published: Thursday, November 17, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:The BCCI yesterday iterated that there would be no change in the venues for England's tour to India early next year, saying that the board had in place a clear-cut rotation policy of allocating matches to the staging centres.

''We have a definite system. And, we have to follow it. The various staging associations take it in turns to host international matches.

''The venues have been finalised by our Programme and Fixtures committee after taking into account all aspects,'' BCCI Joint Secretary Goutam Das Gupta told newspersons here.

Das Gupta, who held a meeting with two ECB officials in the city during the day on various aspects of the tour, claimed that the issue of venues had not been raised by the visiting delegation.

However, ECB Cricket Operations Director John Carr was tightlipped when asked whether his board has sought a change of venues.

''We can't comment on this. Any communication to the media regarding the venues will be done by the BCCI,'' Carr said. Chief Executive of England's Professional Cricket Association Richard Bevan was the other member of the delegation.

Dasgupta announced that the visitors would play two three-day warm up games at Jamshedpur and Agartala on their arrival to India in the second half of February. The England team would also play a One-day preparatory match at Dharamshala before the Limited Over International series.

BCCI secretary S K Nair had earlier said that the two three-day warm-up games would be played between February 25-27 and March 2-4. But the exact schedule was yet to be decided.

Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Mumbai would host the Test matches, and the seven ODIs are to be played in Goa, Indore, Guwahati, Faridabad, Cuttack, Cochin and Visakhapatnam. Goa, however, would be allotted the match if the centre was cleared by the BCCI of the charge of selling 'duplicate' tickets for the ODI against Australia in 2001.

Though the schedule was not yet finalised, the dates for the Tests are March 8-12, March 16-20 and March 25-29, and those for the ODIs April 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19 and 22.

The England Cricket Board had reportedly expressed its unhappiness with the itinerary, saying the one proposed would involve hectic travelling.

The ECB was also aggrieved that the BCCI was treating the English team unfairly in comparison to Australia who played three of their four Tests in major centres, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai on their 2004 visit.

However, a top board official today said he saw no merit in the argument that English supporters would be inconvenienced as the itinerary involved long travels.

''England have played in India in the recent past. Where were the supporters? We did not see any,'' he said.

The official also said that allotting a warm up match Agartala, the capital of the north-eastern state of Tripura, was quite logical.

''Among our affiliate members, Tripura is the only one which is not yet a staging association despite having a wonderful stadium and world class facilities for the players as also the media. Its time we give it a chance to host big events,'' he said.

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