The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ministry endorses Azad report
- BCCI to finalise itinerary in city

Calcutta: The Union home ministry, one learns, has endorsed IGP Yashovardhan Azad’s security report on the cricket venues in Pakistan.

Among other things, Azad has recommended “minimum exposure” to the Indian cricketers in Karachi and Peshawar. One-day Internationals there will be fine on the forthcoming tour, not so Test matches.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, Azad made a “presentation” before a clutch of top officials (including home secretary Anil Baijal) in New Delhi on Thursday.

The report, of course, was submitted to the home ministry on Tuesday itself, 24 hours after Azad’s return from the recce trip. He had gone as the government’s nominee.

The visit, though, was at the behest of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which was represented by joint secretary Ratnakar Shetty and communications director Amrit Mathur.

It couldn’t be confirmed, but Azad probably met Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, who handles the home portfolio, before putting pen to paper.

The report, incidentally, was to reach the BCCI after the presentation and is going to be discussed at a specially-convened meeting here, either on Friday or Saturday. In the chair will be BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, who is on the way home from London.

With good reasons, the BCCI is going to be wholly guided by Azad in finalising the itinerary for a tour slated to begin early next month. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which has listed alternatives, wants the venues to be “mutually agreed upon” at the earliest.

“Now, we’re running short on time… A further delay could affect quite a few things, not least the ticket sales,” observed PCB chief executive Rameez Raja, when contacted in Lahore.

He has a point. Equally, the BCCI doesn’t want to make a commitment before being more than hundred per cent sure on the safety front.

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