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More Indo-Pak matches in the offing, says Dalmiya

March 13, 2004 17:49 IST

Cricket fans can look forward to more high-voltage India-Pakistan encounters in future with the Board of Control for Cricket in India announcing that it will play Pakistan more on a reciprocal basis.

"After almost 15 years, our government has allowed us to tour Pakistan. I can assure that it will not stop here. We will have more tours in future," BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya told reporters in Karachi in Saturday.

Dalmiya said apart from the Asia Cup, the Boards will revive the Asian Test Championship and also plan out Pakistan's tour of India next year.

"We will work on these programmes. The two Boards are keen to play more cricket," he said at a joint press conference along with ICC president Ehsan Mani and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan.

Dalmiya also said both the Boards enjoy a very good relationship and all the tournaments will be on a reciprocal basis.

"We always have had a good relationship and had jointly held the World Cup."

Asked why the BCCI refused to play a Test match in Karachi, Dalmiya said it was a decision taken by the Home Ministry and it was binding on the Board.

"I just want to clarify the facts. The BCCI never said that Karachi was a violence-prone city and we don't want to play there. The BCCI does not have the expertise on security matters and it had to take the advise of the government on such matters," he said.

"Hopefully, when we come here next time, we can start the tour in Karachi with a Test match. We respect the sentiments of the people of Karachi," he added.

"The ICC is happy that the two countries are playing again. It was long overdue. It is the first step in a long journey and will go a long way in rebuilding the confidence.

"It is also good for world cricket which would have been poorer if they did not play each other," said Mani.

Asked whether the resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties will strengthen the Asian bloc in the ICC, Mani said, "The Asian presence is strong in the ICC. It is a healthy thing."

Mani also felt that Karachi is much too big a centre to be ignored for Test matches for long.

"I am sure when Zimbabwe come here for the tour there will be a Test match here. It is the nursery of Pakistan cricket and it can not be kept  out for long."

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