Pakistan says venue row endangers Indian tour

Agence France Presse

Islamabad, February 16:

Pakistan’s first cricket tour of India in six years could be under threat if a row over venues is not resolved within the next two days, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief said on Wednesday.

“With just nine days left for the tour, it might be in danger if the venue issue is not solved in the next 48 hours,” PCB chief Shaharyar Khan told AFP.

The dispute erupted after Pakistan refused to play at the riot-hit western Indian city of Ahmedabad. It has delayed the announcement of the schedule with Pakistan due to arrive in New Delhi on February 25.

Khan, speaking by telephone from the north-western city of Mardan where he went to offer his condolences to cricketer Younis Khan over his father’s death, would not elaborate on the “danger” and said he hoped it would be averted.

“The matter of venues should be solved in the next two days as we face huge problems of logistics and, above all, television rights,” Khan said. “With just over a week left we are running short of time and would find it tough to complete preparations.” Pakistan are due to play three Tests and five one-day internationals on their first full tour of India since 1999.

The two governments were expected to intervene in the venue row with Indian foreign minister Natwar Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Kasuri likely to bring it up during their meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday, officials said.

“The two foreign ministers are also likely to discuss the matter and it would be nice if they can solve the matter,” said Khan, who is also due to meet Singh during a breakfast meeting on Thursday.