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Pak reiterate neutral venue stand

Islamabad: Pakistan reiterated that they are ready to allow their cricket team to play against India at neutral venues if that helped generate high revenue.

The cash-strapped Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had earlier maintained that the Indian team must visit Pakistan in order to resume bilateral cricket ties that were snapped by India in the wake of the Kargil conflict in July 1999.

Announcing PCB’s latest stand, its chairman, Lt Gen. Tauqir Zia said, “If we get enough revenue, which we have lost already, it would be silly on our part not to consider playing at neutral venues with India because we do not want to lose any more money.”

“The PCB is ready to forego the rights of staging next year’s Asia Cup in Pakistan if the government allowed us to do so in order to make way for India to participate in the event in any other country,” he added.

Referring to the recent ball-tampering incident involving fast bowler Shoaib Akthar, Zia said he was concerned over the controversy and the speedster’s behaviour on the ground.

“He should not do these kinds of things. Shoaib is a match winner and should avoid these kinds of things because it bothers us,” he said.

Emphasising that fitness and form of the players was of paramount importance, the Zia added that he was in favour of a rotation policy for the players. “Fast bowlers like Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim Akram need rest”.

Meanwhile, talking about ICC president Malcolm Gray’s visit to Lahore, Zia said, “It is a fact-finding mission just like the one he did in India.”

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