PCB considering neutral venues for Oz tour

Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 13:43 [IST]
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PCB looking for neutral venues for Oz tour

Karachi: To avoid cancellation of tours that dogged Pakistani cricket in 2008, the PCB"s Chief Operating Officer, Saleem Altaf, has said the Board is only considering neutral venues.

Altaf said Pakistan lost the opportunity to host the ICC Champions Trophy last September mainly because of a rigid stance adopted by the previous PCB top brass.

Now, Pakistan is supposed to host Australia for a proposed one-day series in April, but PCB chief Ijaz Butt has already said the Aussies will not come to Pakistan and that the series is likely to take place at some offshore venue, The News reported.

“We want to be more flexible because a rigid attitude won"t help. It"s better to have cricket at some neutral venue than not having it at all," explained Altaf.

He said the PCB is considering neutral venues like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur for the series.

Pakistan suffered heavy losses after the International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed the Champions Trophy after five of the eight competing teams refused to tour Pakistan because of security apprehensions.

At that time, the idea of shifting the tournament to Sri Lanka, the event"s reserve venue, was discussed but Pakistan managed to shoot down the proposal. At that time PCB completely ruled out hosting the Champions Trophy at some neutral venue.

The PCB believes that India has only postponed its tour of Pakistan and will honour the commitment as soon as relations between the two neigbours improve, Altaf said.

He said that PCB and Indian cricket board officials will sit down to find a slot for the series that was supposed to take place in January-February this year as soon as Indo-Pak relations begin to show any improvement.

Last month, India decided against visiting Pakistan for a much-awaited series because of strained relations between the two governments over last November"s terror attacks in Mumbai.

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