International Cricket Council June 19, 2003

Gray critical of Indian Government stance

Malcolm Gray, the outgoing president of the International Cricket Council (ICC), wants the ICC to be involved in breaking down the barriers which are currently preventing India and Pakistan from playing in each other's countries.

Gray made his comments in the ICC annual report and was critical of the Indian government's stance of banning India's participation in any bilateral series with Pakistan.

"Whatever the political arguments, this decision is hurting immeasurably the game of cricket."

The match between the two teams at the recent World Cup had been one of the most electrifying matches of the tournament and highlighted the ability of sport to transcend political divides and act as powerful unifying force.

Gray said he had been invited by the Pakistan Cricket Board to meet General Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan, to discuss the issue.

"I took great encouragement from his enthusiasm for the sport and commitment to avoid making political mileage out of one of the world's great sporting rivalries. Unfortunately, this view is not shared in India.

"The BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] has elected to shoulder a heavy responsibility to the game by taking on the task of working with its government to allow the resumption of cricketing ties between the two nations.

"While the BCCI has decided to pursue this goal on its own, the ICC wishes to work with it and the Indian government to try and identify a way in which this impasse can be broken."