PCB making arrangements for India series despite chill

December 6th, 2008 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Dec 6 (IANS) The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is going ahead with arrangements for hosting the much-awaited series against India even though it remains in serious doubt because of the strained relations between the two governments in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.A report in The News Saturday said that from giving a comprehensive facelift to the venues to getting solid assurances from the authorities over security arrangements for the visitors, the board is trying to ensure that it is fully ready for the series if it happens.

Saleem Altaf, PCB’s chief operating officer, said that though uncertainty prevails over the tour that is supposed to begin from Jan 4, the PCB is treating the arrangements for the series as a routine exercise.

“Our standard operating procedure is in place for the series,” the daily quoted Altaf as saying.

“As far as we are concerned, the series will be on and we will continue taking steps to ensure that everything is in place,” the former Pakistan Test pacer added.

The Indian government is yet to clear its cricket team’s visit to Pakistan and there have been reports that the tour is likely to be called off in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

India has pointed the finger of suspicion at Pakistan, an accusation that has put a serious strain on the relations between the two countries.

The cash-strapped PCB is desperate for the home series against India because it will replenish its dwindling bank accounts if it is cancelled.

The Board, which is still recovering from the back-breaking financial setbacks following the postponement of the home series against Australia and September’s ICC Champions Trophy, is not even willing to calculate the losses in such a scenario.

Last month, the board signed a TV rights deal worth $140.5 million with a Gulf-based sports channel but it will lose a sizeable chunk from that amount in case the Indians refused to tour Pakistan or even play the series at offshore venues.

India is scheduled to play three Tests, five One-day Internationals a Twenty20 International during their tour that is supposed to take place from Jan 4-Feb 19 next year.

The Pakistani cricketers were left without a single home Test in 2008 because of Australia’s refusal to visit the country in March-April.

The Australians are now supposed to tour Pakistan next March to honour their “postponed” commitment but the visit will become highly unlikely in case the Indians refused to tour the country. The situation looks grim for Pakistan cricket but Altaf said that it has the capacity to survive such setbacks.

“We have a good number of matches in 2009 and hopefully things will normalise for Pakistan cricket in the coming months,” said Altaf who has left for South Africa to attend the two-day ICC Chief Executives Committee moot to be held Dec 7-8 in Cape Town.

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