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Old December 27th, 2000, 02:20 PM
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India's Pak tour more or less off: PCB official

ISLAMABAD: Hopes for reviving the Indian cricket team's tour of Pakistan in January have been dashed yet again, with a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official confirming that the tour was more or less off.

Talking to IANS over telephone from Lahore, PCB official Rehman Mureed said that no progress had been made by the Indian side over the last two days to get the tour off the ground. Expressing disappointment, Mureed said the Indians themselves had contacted the PCB for reviving the tour and were very confident about this event taking place.

Earlier, on November 15, the Indian government had refused to give the national team permission for the proposed December-January tour of Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of fanning cross-border terrorism in Kashmir. India were to have played three Tests and five one-day internationals in Pakistan.

The PCB stands to lose millions of dollars in sponsorship money if the Indian tour does not materialise, Mureed said, adding, however, that so far that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had not sent any official word confirming the cancellation of the tour.

No Indian team has visited Pakistan for a full Test tour since 1989-90. That team was led by K. Srikkanth and marked the international cricket debut for batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar led an Indian team to play three limited-over games in Pakistan in 1997 and Pakistan too played three Tests and a triangular series in India last year despite threats from right-wing elements to disrupt the tour.

India has not played against Pakistan either in the Sahara Cup one-day series in Toronto, Canada, for the last two years. It also refused to send entrants for the South Asian Federation shooting contest in November and declined visas to Pakistani rowers earlier this month. On the other hand, Pakistan sent its football team to India in July and permitted two of its snooker players to take part in an invitational tournament in India last month.

On Sunday PCB chairman, Lt.Gen. Tauqir Zia, had said that hopes of India coming to Pakistan for a short tour had been rekindled following some positive hints from Indian cricket officials.

"Our representative to the ICC (International Cricket Council), Ehsan Mani, had talked to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief A.C. Muthiah and informed us that the Indians were willing to tour Pakistan," Tauqir said then.

Pakistan had even started preparations for the tour by contacting their television agents, Trans World International (TWI), for telecasting the series at a short notice and had started working out a tentative itinerary.

Meanwhile, a report in the Pakistan daily The News said that Muthiah's recent letter to Indian government officials had rekindled hopes of the tour taking place. But official sources here said there was little chance of New Delhi giving the BCCI the all-important go-ahead.(IANS)

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