India tour of Pakistan, 2005-06 December 29, 2005

Venues for first two ODIs shifted

Cricinfo staff

Peshawar and Rawalpindi have swapped places as the venue for the ODI series opener © Getty Images
The itinerary for India's tour to Pakistan has undergone an alteration due to security concerns. The first ODI, to be played at Peshawar on February 6, will now be played in Rawalpindi on the same date. The second ODI, on February 8, will now be held at Peshawar instead of Rawalpindi where it was originally scheduled.

The switch in venues has come about because of concerns that there would have been a shortage in security personnel for Peshawar on February 6. Salim Altaf, PCB Director explained to Cricinfo: "The first week of February coincides with Ashura, a ten-day period in the Islamic month of Muharram, which generally requires extra security manpower to be placed around Islamabad and Rawalpindi, particularly. If we had held the game in Peshawar first, there would have been a shortage of security manpower. It's just a venue switch as it enables us to get the right amount of security for the Peshawar ODI."

Altaf also confirmed that this change was accepted by the visiting Indian security delegation who return to India today after a five-day trip to venues around Pakistan. The team was in Lahore to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the tour. The request for the venue switch, say officials, was made by security agencies. Altaf said the final itinerary would now be announced only after the Indian security delegation returns and submits a final report to the Indian Home Ministry.

Altaf revealed that all Test matches would start at 9.45am (PST), 15 minutes earlier than the starts during the recent series against England. This is to alleviate the potential impact of fog and poor light, a particular winter problem in Punjab, where two Test matches will be played. In the series against England, a considerable number of overs were lost in Faisalabad and Lahore due to poor light, a situation which led the PCB to officially float the idea of six-day Tests in Pakistan at this time of the year.

The ODIs will begin at 11.00am (PST) except in Peshawar, where due to a lack of floodlights at the Arbab Niaz Stadium, the game will begin at 9.30am (PST). Karachi, venue for the final ODI, will have an 11.30am (PST) start.