The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pak unhappy with venue
- Logistics affecting our schedule: Altaf

Dharamshala: The Pakistan team management struck a discordant note a day after arriving in India for their first full tour in six years. Team manager Salim Altaf voiced 'concern' over Dharamshala as a venue for the tour-opener, citing logistics at this Himachal town as a factor affecting their schedule.

Altaf, who is also the PCB director of operations, said the 'tedious' journey to and from Dharamshala was causing 'some concern' to the visitors as it could affect their training session ahead of the first Test starting in Mohali on March 8.

'We have played in Johannesburg, so altitude is not an issue here. But as far as logisitics are concerned, there is some concern,' Altaf said.

'We are playing here from March 3 to 5, so it is unlikely that we will be able to practise in Mohali after reaching there on March 6' So we may get just one day's practice before the first Test, which is a worry.

'We are requesting the BCCI to get us out of here on March 5 itself,' said Altaf.

However, the visitors' first full tour of India in six years was off to a wet start after inclement weather forced cancellation of their practice session and left players locked indoors in this picturesque hill resort.

The hazards of holding an international match at a place vulnerable to abrupt changes in weather conditions were visible as clear skies suddenly gave way to cold sheets of water, thanks to snowfall in the upper reaches, leaving the outfield and the practice area at the HPCA Stadium soggy and unfit for any acitivity.

The Pakistan squad, which arrived this morning from Delhi by a chartered flight, was keen to have a hit ahead of their tour-opener against Board President's XI starting on Thursday, but had to confine themselves to the comfort of hotel rooms.

But by evening the sun was shining and the clouds had begun to clear, giving a majestic view of the Dhauladhar hills, filled with powdery white snow. The ground had quickly begun to dry, too, and with more sunshine forecast for Wednesday, the match should start on time.

The HPCA staff worked overtime, giving final touches to the small but picturesque stadium.

Locals were quick to point out that less than a week ago, the whole stadium was filled up with snow and how once the avalanche had stopped, it had turned green in no time.

The guests from across the border were given a warm welcome by 20 female athletes from SAI, clad in traditional Himachal dress, and HPCA officials. Several hundreds had also lined up outside the Kangra airport where the plane landed at 11 am. (PTI)

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