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India call off Pakistan tour

Source: PTI
March 29, 2003 22:44 IST
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India on Saturday formally called off its ICC-scheduled cricket tour of Pakistan in April.

In retaliation Pakistan said it would not send its team to India next year.

Board of Control for Cricket in India president Jagmohan Dalmiya said the team could not go to Pakistan because of the long-standing government policy banning cricket matches with Pakistan in bilateral series.

Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Samiul Hassan, in Islamabad, said keeping in view India's stand, Pakistan will not send its team to India for a scheduled tour in 2004.

India has refused to play Pakistan in bilateral series since the Kargil war in 1999, accusing its neighbour of promoting cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

The two, however, did face each other in the World Cup in South Africa earlier this month.

That the next month's tour, which entailed three Test matches and an equal number of one-day internationals, seemed unlikely was clear when India announced that it would be participating in a tri-nation tournament in Dhaka, against Bangladesh and South Afria, from April 11. India was scheduled to tour Pakistan from April 8 to May 15.

Hassan said the PCB was trying to rope in some other team to fill in the gap but refused to elaborate. There are reports that the PCB is considering inviting Kenya for a one-day series during that time.

Kenya, who became the first non-Test playing country to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup earlier this month, have, alongwith Zimbabwe, also been invited to replace South Africa in a one-day tournament with Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Sharjah from April 3 to 10.

South Africa pulled out of the tournament due to security concerns owing to the war in Iraq.

Sourav Ganguly's team was scheduled to tour Pakistan as part of the International Cricket Council programme according to which each Test-playing country is supposed to play four series -- two at home and two away -- against each other in a 10-year period.

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