August 22, 2001

ACC unhappy over decision

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) reacted angrily over Indian government's decision to disallow its team to play in the Asian Test Championship starting Aug 29.

"The entire schedule was worked out after they confirmed their participation in the tournament. They submitted government clearance and that's the biggest assurance any board can give," the secretary of the ACC Zakir Husain Syed said from Islamabad.

The official said the ACC created best possible conditions for the India to participate in the tournament. He added that India's withdrawal was a big setback but insisted that the it would not take the gloss off the competition.

"The championship will go on, there is no doubt about that. But yes, the decision will definitely result in a financial loss to the event managers," he said.

India's refusal to cross borders for a scheduled tour to Pakistan earlier this year, resulted in an over $15million loss to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Zakir clarified that he had heard the news on television but was yet to receive any confirmation from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The ACC official demanded New Delhi to spell out its sports policy. "There has to be a rationale. I mean, Indian snooker players are coming to Pakistan, Pakistan volleyball team is playing in India, and above all, a 380-athlete Indian contingent will be appearing in October's SAF Games. So why single out cricket?" he questioned.

When pressed if the decision would mean the end of ACC as an institution, Zakir said: "The ACC's development programme will continue."

Asked if the ACC would press the International Cricket Council (ICC) to impose sanctions on India, Zakir reiterated that after the game's governing body remained a silent spectator when India refused to play in Pakistan earlier this year, there was hardly anything it can do now. "But yes, the ICC's 10-year plan has definitely been hit for a six. The ICC has the ground reality and is in the thick of information," he said.