The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After bus, cricket drives peace
Calcutta wins in Test shift

Feb. 17: Ahmedabad's loss is almost certain to be Calcutta's gain.

The Indian cricket board today proposed that Pakistan play a one-day match in Ahmedabad, instead of a Test as originally scheduled, in response to security concerns of the visitors.

The Test has been shifted to Calcutta but the decision can be called final only after the Pakistan board gives its approval.

Uncertainty over venues and the ongoing legal battle over telecast rights have also prompted the Indian board to propose postponement of the tour, slated to start on February 25, by at least a week.

Earlier in the day, Shaharyar Khan, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief, had a breakfast meeting with his friend, visiting Indian external affairs minister Natwar Singh, in Islamabad where they agreed differences over a venue should not lead to cancellation of the tour.

'In my meeting with Natwar Singh, we decided that the series would not be postponed and will take place as per schedule,' Khan said.

The schedule seems likely to change but it now depends on the Pakistan board to respond positively to India's modified tour plan, which will mean an extra one-dayer ' to be played in Ahmedabad.

While, after the meeting with Singh, Khan spoke to former Indian board president Jagmohan Dalmiya and sought a revised tour plan, he also denied reports that Pakistan had agreed to play a one-day match in Ahmedabad.

The formal proposal from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with a change of venues, however, came later and Pakistan's official reaction is awaited.

BCCI president Ranbir Singh Mahendra said: 'Given the excellent relations between the two countries, I am confident that the PCB will agree to play an additional one-day international.'

He explained that the itinerary revision and the telecast deadlock had led to postponement of the tour. 'The working committee decided that the tour be deferred by seven to 10 days.'

The wrangle between the BCCI and Zee Telefilms over telecast rights is before Madras High Court. Pending its resolution, the board cannot grant telecast rights for the Pakistan team's matches.

Ranbir Singh hoped the court ruling would come by Monday, otherwise the board would appeal to the Supreme Court.

At today's board meeting in Delhi, all members gave a declaration disavowing any financial or other interest in sponsorships, including telecast rights.

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