Canada offers to hold India-Australia series if Aussies cancel India tour

September 18th, 2008 - 11:07 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Sep 18 (IANS) Canadian cricket authorities have offered Toronto as an alternative venue for the India-Australia series if Ricky Ponting-led Aussie team does not visit India because of security concerns.”We hope the Aussie tour of India will go through. But if the Australians cancel their trip citing security concerns, we are willing to hold their matches here. Our proposal is not only for this series, but also for any such eventuality in the future,” Cricket CEO Atul Ahuja told IANS.

He added, “If security issues lead to cancellation of future tours to the sub-continent, Cricket Canada would request all the cricket boards - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - to help us build a Friendship Stadium in Toronto to serve as an alternative venue for the series cancelled for security reasons.”

Ahuja said he raised this issue when he was invited by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the inauguration of the Indian Premier League in April.

“I spoke with Sharad Pawar, Arjuna Ranatunga of Sri Lanka Cricket and Nasim Ashraf of the Pakistani Cricket Board at that time. They all said it is a good idea. Pawar was very sympathetic, but there was no follow up.”

He said he would take up the issue again if the Aussie tour of India does not take place.

“In the current atmosphere, Toronto can be a solution to the problem. We used to host the Sahara Cup between India and Pakistan here, so why can’t we be given the opportunity to hold the series which will otherwise be cancelled?”

The Cricket Canada CEO said this will help in the growth of cricket in Canada.

“The staging of series between giants like Australia and India will give a major boost to cricket in our country and help us build world-class cricketing facilities,” he told IANS.

Asked whether Cricket Canada has the facilities to hold the current India-Australia series, he said, “Our Maple Leaf ground is as per ICC norms. All we need is making seating arrangements around the ground. We are eager to have more and more cricket here.”

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