England happy with revised India cricket tour

Published: Thursday, December 8, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:England cricket officials unveiled a revised itinerary for next year's tour of India, ending a bad-tempered row over venues.

England will now play their three Tests at Nagpur, Mohali and Mumbai and start their tour a week earlier than planned, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of cricket operations John Carr told reporters here on Thursday.

"We are grateful to the BCCI for providing us with a revised itinerary and managed to ease significantly England's travelling schedule," Carr said.

"The changes allow England to play in more temperate climate during the early part of the tour, and just as importantly offers the players a greater rest period between the tour and home matches against Sri Lanka," he added.

The initial itinerary had Tests in Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Mumbai and seven one-dayers in outposts like Goa, Indore, Guwahati, Faridabad, Cuttack, Cochin and Visakhapatnam.

The Punjab city of Mohali has now replaced Ahmedabad while the sequence of the one-day internationals has changed to Delhi, Faridabad, Goa, Cochin, Guwahati, Jamshedpur and Indore.

The tour now runs from February 13 to April 15 after Pakistan agreed to postpone the Asia Cup which would have kept India busy until February 28. England will open with a three-day warm-up match in Mumbai from February 18-20.

England are in Pakistan ahead of a five-match one day series. They lost their Test series with Pakistan 2-0.

Carr said the changes would also benefit fans.

"Whilst Indian officials have had to work within the parameters of their rotation policy, the changes will allow spectators to watch top-class cricket in first-class facilities," he said.

The BCCI last month declined to change the venues, saying it was a long-standing policy to rotate international matches among the 21 venues dotted across the country.

England, although satisfied with Mumbai, wanted to play other matches in traditional main centres such as New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata which have enough hotels for media and fans.

Britain's Sunday Telegraph last month reported that the ECB were "considering the diplomatic snub of playing their warm-up games in Pakistan" after the BCCI slotted in two three-day practice matches at the start of the tour in out-of-the-way towns without luxury hotels.

However, a change in the BCCI set-up helped England to get a revised itinerary.

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