August 29, 2001

India's absence unfortunate, say captains

After all the uncertainty surrounding the Asian Test Championship, the tournament is finally ready to kick off from Wednesday though India's absence has taken the gloss off the tournament.

"The championship has lost its colour," said Bangladesh captain Naimur Rahman on the eve of his team's only fourth Test match since gaining Test status.

It could have been nice to play one more game (against India). We could have learnt a lot after playing against them," Naimur said after his team had a two-hour net session Tuesday.

Pakistan captain Waqar Younis was also disappointed at India's withdrawal from the now reduced three-team competition which also features Sri Lanka.

"The championship has lost it's charm after India pulled its team, but we hope to get maximum points from this match," he said.

India's mind-boggling decision will certainly leave the ACC to suffer with huge financial losses. But the decision to go-ahead with the tournament despite India's withdrawal shows who calls the shots.

But will the International Cricket Council (ICC) show some teeth and impose sanctions on India is yet to be seen though analysts believe India will once again escape scot-free because of its massive commercial market on which electronic media survives. But the question is how long will India's unsporting behaviour be tolerated.