The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Call for Pak-India neutral venue

Durban: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has sought New Delhi’s permission to play a Test series against Pakistan at a neutral venue. Such engagements now have the International Cricket Council’s sanction.

Confirming this Thursday afternoon, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya told The Telegraph: “While we’ve moved the government, we haven’t yet got a response. At this moment, then, it won’t be proper to say anything.”

Bilateral ties have been in the cold storage after Pakistan’s double-visit to India in early 1999. As for India touring Pakistan, the last trip was back in late 1997. Of course, while New Delhi has been opposed to one-to-one series’, it hasn’t come in the way of multi- lateral tournaments.

In fact, three weeks ago, India played Pakistan in Centurion — and won convincingly.

Pakistan, it may be recalled, has already featured in Tests at neutral venues: Sharjah and Colombo. First, the West Indies declined to tour Pakistan (in early 2002) and, then, Australia. Both had misgivings over security.

Incidentally, the dates of the much-delayed Asia Cup should soon be finalised. Obviously, the tournament won’t be hosted by Pakistan, which ought to have staged it last year itself. Currently, Sri Lanka is the preferred choice.

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