Fate of Asian Test event still hangs in balance (29 January 1999)

29 January 1999

Fate of Asian Test event still hangs in balance

By Our Special Representative

CHENNAI (India), Jan 28: The fate of the inaugural Asian Test Championship would be decided in the next 48 hours, Raj Singh Dungarpur, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told journalists here on Thursday.

"It's more yes than no but the picture would clear in the next 48 hours," Dungarpur said admitting that cancellation was still one of the options that was open.

"We had been trying the Sri Lankan and Pakistan cricket board presidents for the last two days but both are not available. Unless they are taken into confidence, no decision can be taken. Then we have also to inform the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) under whose umbrella this event is going to be staged," he said.

"But now we are very optimistic that the event would take place because the problems of which the event was being cancelled have been sorted out.

"There was sponsorship and television coverage problems but they have been tackled," he said without revealing further details.

Dungarpur added that the technical committee meeting of the Asian Test Championship was also on schedule. "It would be held on Feb 3 at New Delhi in which the committee would chalk out the format of the tournament."

Sunil Gavaskar, Majid Khan and Asantha De Mel are the members of the that committee which will finalize the playing conditions.

Pakistan captain Wasim Akram said he had no knowledge if the Asian Test Championship was being scrapped and the Calcutta Test would be considered as the third Test of the series. "I have no knowledge about it. We have not been informed if there was a suggestion that we might have to play three additional one-day internationals."

However, he said it was upto the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) what they decide. "Our job is to play and their task to finalize itineraries and tours. As far as we are concerned, we have no problems," he said.

Dungarpur also talked in length about the revival of the Pakistan and India Test series.

"It's very important that India and Pakistan played Test. It would have been a misfortune had the series been called off. Probably it would have taken a very long time then because of tight international commitments.

"There is a special competitive edge in a series between Pakistan and India. I will compare it with the Ashes," he said.

Dungarpur said the two cricket boards enjoyed the best of relations even in disturbed times. "I am convinced that no one can bring the sport into a standstill. Cricket is a major sport and more so in India and Pakistan. I think this series will set off regular exchange of visits."

The BCCI president believed that cricket was the best medium to build friendship between the two countries. "The more we exchange tours, the lesser will be the hostility."

Source :: Dawn (http://dawn.com/)