ECB still hopeful of changes in Indian venues

Published: Sunday, November 20, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Faisalabad:England still have not given up hopes of getting some match-venues changed on their taxing cricket tour of India early next year, an official said here.

"If the Indian board nominates those venues and, from a safety and logistical point of view they are okay, we would be duty-bound to go along with that allocation," England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of operations John Carr told reporters here on Sunday.

"But there is always a chance until the itinerary has been confirmed, and we have informed them we will be writing to them."

England had raised concerns over the schedule for Michael Vaughan's team, which would tour India in March-April for three Tests and seven One-day internationals.

India have already rejected a verbal request for better and glamorous venues where the England team, media and fans can have better accommodation and logistics.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) last week said it was a long-standing policy to rotate international matches among the 21 venues dotted across the country over which the England itinerary was drawn.

Carr, who is here to watch the second Test against Pakistan, was accompanied by players' representative Richard Bevan to meet Indian officials, including high-profile former president Jagmohan Dalmiya, last week.

England are due to play Tests in Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Mumbai and seven One-dayers in outposts like Goa, Indore, Guwahati, Faridabad, Cuttack, Cochin and Visakhapatnam.

England, satisfied with Mumbai, want traditional centres like New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata to host matches because they have enough hotels to accommodate a large media contingent and fans expected for the tour.

Carr said no final decision on the itinerary can be made until an Indian board meeting on November 30.

Reports in the English media also suggest Vaughan's team may consider the option of playing their warm-up matches in Pakistan instead of India.

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