August 22, 2001

Pakistan's dismay on India's non-participation

The PCB express dismay at the decision of the Indian government not to allow the Indian team to visit Pakistan for the Asian Test Championship match, which was to be played at Lahore mid-September.

"The ACC had made the entire schedule of the event, after the Indian Board had produced a guarantee of its government explicitly stating that it had no objection to the Indian's playing Pakistan in 'multilateral' tournaments. Now the Indian government has decided to go back on its commitment, while there has been no change in the circumstances whatsoever", said the PCB Chairman, Lt. Gen. Tauqir Zia.

"It is quite apparent now that cricket is being singled out as a game in which India doesn't want to take-on Pakistan. Otherwise why the same Indian sports ministry who has okayed an Indian contingent of as large as 380 sportsmen for the SAF Games in Islamabad, would not allow the cricket team to visit Pakistan. SAF Games is not the only sporting activity in which the two nations are taking part on each other's soil, there are many others too. This to me is the most glaring contradiction in terms and it shows that there is more to it than meets the eye" said Zia.

As to whether the Asian Cricket council deadline of August 23 exacerbated the situation, an irate PCB Chairman said, "In all fairness, it was not an ultimatum as it has been made out to be. The ACC just didn't want the issue to be dragged endlessly. After all you must realize that if an international fixture has to take place, myriad arrangements have to be made. All this cannot be left to the last minute. Already the ACC, and consequently the host countries, have suffered a lot because of Indian government's dilly-dallying. It is a shame that a continental event of this magnitude does not have a title sponsor and television rights remain unsold. Who is going to be the ultimate loser? Cricket in the sub-continent and in Asia".

The ICC, the General believed, for its part has to show some teeth in this regard. " If the ICC wanted to be held in as high an esteem as other global sporting bodies such as the International Olympic Committee or FIFA, it is about time it acted and resolved such issues clearheadedly and authoritatively, otherwise ICC Knock out and ICC's Ten Years Programme would be in jeopardy. Cricket should not be held hostage to extreme views or it is likely to suffer a great blow in this part of the world which has seen phenomenal growth in the last couple decades" the PCB Chairman concluded.

Khalid Butt
Media Manager
22 August 2001