While criticising the Pakistan Cricket Board's decision not to play in Ahmedabad, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images] told rediff.com this morning that "Pakistan is afraid of losing in Ahmedabad."
"We don't see any other logic in their refusal," he said, adding that more than 250 Pakistan citizens had visited Ahmedabad for a recent international convention.
Many of them had requested him to arrange for their visit to the Ajmer Sharief shrine in Rajasthan, Modi said. The chief minister had taken up the issue with the central government to help the Pakistani visitors.
Modi said he is a cricket fan. "Much before cricket appeared on television I used to be glued to my radio to relish the cricket commentary," he said.
Last month, he added, more than two dozen Pakistani sportsmen visited Gujarat to attend the international sports event for the physically handicapped.
Modi refused to accept the charge that he has been severely critical of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images]. He asked this correspondent to note the sequence of events as it unfolded. He claimed he reacted only after the PCB refused to play in Ahmedabad.
When asked what his stand would be if the venue for the Test was changed from Ahmedabad, Modi said, "I have nothing more to say on the matter. The Government of India should take a stand. It is up to the central government to decide if they should allow Pakistan to have its say on the matters of Kashmir or Gujarat."
He refused to discuss if the atmosphere within Gujarat continues to be communally charged or not.
When asked to comment on a newspaper editorial which said that if Pakistan defeated India in Ahmedabad the situation in Gujarat could get tense, Modi rubbished the argument, saying, "So what if India loses? It is fine. We should take it in our stride. In sport one should not fear winning or losing. The game has to be played well."