September 27, 2001

New Zealand propose new dates for Pakistan tour

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has expressed its willingness to reschedule the cancelled tour to Pakistan between April 1 and May 5 next year.

The NZC proposal came from its chief executive Martin Snedden last week who had also suggested that the other alternate dates could be around May-June.

Sources in the PCB cricket operations confirmed that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has sent thumbs up to NZC for three Tests and as many oneday internationals between April and May.

"May-June will be tough for the cricketers because of summer in this part of the country. Besides, the county contracts of some players will also be affected," sources said.

Saqlain Mushtaq (Surrey), Shahid Afridi (Leicestershire) and Abdur Razzaq (Middlesex) will be appearing in the English county championships next year that run between April and September.

The Black Caps are scheduled to host England in February and March while the West Indies will be touring Pakistan during the same time.

The proposal being worked out at the Gaddafi Stadium also includes staging a tri-nation one-day series between Pakistan, West Indies and New Zealand.

"The West Indies will be nearing the conclusion of the Pakistan tour when New Zealand will arrive. This allows us to consider the proposal of holding a tri-nation one-day series," sources said.

Pakistan and India had proposed to stage a joint quadrangular one-day tournament in April with Zimbabwe and West Indies as the other participating countries. The proposal was eventually shelved after India pulled out from the Asian Test Championship after it was drawn to play its match against Pakistan at Lahore. However, the West Indies tour to Pakistan is also in doldrums after the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) sent a fax to Lahore last week informing them that they would decide on the tour in their Sept 27 and 28 meeting.

They have cited security fears in the backdrop of situation arising in the region in the backdrop of terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

New Zealand had also returned from Singapore on Sept 13 for the same reason and aborted the tour which was initially scheduled to run between Sept 19 and Oct 24.