Tour was in danger of being called off: Ramiz
LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Saturday announced the itinerary of India’s first Test tour to Pakistan in 15 years. India will play a one-day warm-up game, five one-day internationals and three Tests between March 11 and April 17, 2004.
PCB chief executive Ramiz Raja said he felt honoured and delighted to announce the itinerary of India’s Test tour to Pakistan. “I am confident that it will be a great series. Pakistani people will extend traditional respect and hospitality to the visitors. I’m also convinced it will be a controversy-free and trouble-free series.
“I once again assure everyone that best security will be in place for the Indian team but at the same time we have ensured that no inconvenience is caused to the local and visiting spectators which we expect to be in huge numbers,” he said.
Ramiz said the one-day series will be played before the Tests because of political reasons. “The BCCI requested us for the change of format because of the expected elections in India in April. They further argued that if the one-day series was played in the second half of the series, the public will lose interest in the matches. We showed flexibility because we understand the importance of this series.”
Ramiz said the tour may have been called off if Pakistan had insisted on including Test matches at Karachi and Peshawar.
“The confidence of touring teams has obviously not been fully restored about the two venues.
“If we had pressed harder for Tests in Karachi and Peshawar, the tour might even have been called off. While I am sad that the two cities will not be hosting Tests, I am glad that they will be hosting important one-day games,” he said.
Ramiz said the itinerary was delayed because of several reasons. “One of the reasons was certainly the visit of the three-man BCCI delegation that was here last week. But I must tell you that we sent two proposed itineraries according to which the tour was to start from March 5. Now, on our request, the arrival of the Indian team has been delayed for five days so that we can get the breathing space to complete our logistical, ticketing and upgradation work in time. Also, Andy Atkinson, who will be preparing pitches for the series, will be arriving in Lahore on March 6.”