Scheduling controversy February 17, 2005

Pakistan's tour hangs in the balance

Cricinfo staff

The Pakistan Cricket Board has suggested that its forthcoming tour of India could be in doubt unless the Indian board sorted out issues of scheduling within the next two days. Two ad-hoc committee meetings of the Pakistan board have been cancelled: Abbas Zaidi, a PCB director, explained that "both meetings have been cancelled as the next two days are critical for us and should decide if we tour India or not."

Zaidi told Mid Day, a Mumbai-based newspaper, "I think Thursday is going to be a crucial day for both boards. It should decide the outcome of this long-awaited tour." In the meantime the Indian board is likely to announce the venues and dates for the Pakistan tour on Thursday, after a working-committee meeting. Pakistan have refused to play in Ahmedabad on security grounds.

The presence of Natwar Singh, the Indian foreign minister, in Islamabad, was expected to help resolve various issues. Shaharyar Khan, the president of the Pakistan board, was likely to meet the Indian foreign minister and raise various concerns he had. The Mid Day report quotes a Pakistan board source as saying, "basically the Pakistan board has to go by the advice of its foreign ministry, which so far has not given clearance to play in Ahmedabad. But that situation could change in the next 24 hours, with the Indian foreign minister in Islamabad and some important meetings scheduled."