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Border to play in India

By Neena Bhandari
February 27, 2004 16:51 IST
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Former Australian skipper and world's highest Test run scorer Allan Border would return to the crease to play for the combined Queensland Universities squad, as a guest of honour, which would tour India and Sri Lanka next month.

Border will line-up with some of Australia's promising cricketers, who will double-up as players and ambassadors for their respective universities.

Griffith University Sports Initiatives Officer Michael Jeh, who is a former first-class player in England, will captain the side.

Jeh, who is a Sri-Lankan born Australian said, "the Queensland Government and Griffith University had an idea to raise the profile of its educational sector by introducing smart state type awareness in these key areas.

"In the sub-continent, cricket speaks more eloquently than any other language so we decided to touch our markets through this shared love of the game."

The squad departs from Brisbane on March 23 and will take on the Sri Lankan Cricket Academy in Colombo before travelling to Chennai for the first of six games in India.

In India, the itinerary includes games against the MRF Pace Academy, Mumbai Cricket Association, Karnataka State Cricket Association and a Delhi Invitational XI.

The 15-day tour will also include university seminars, coaching clinics and functions with the Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka and the Minister for Education in Bangalore.

Jeh said, "it is a strong squad boasting lots of good cricketers although we will be tested in those conditions. It is a great advertisement for guys who have combined cricket with study and succeeded both on and off the field.

"Allan Border's presence is all-important. Apart from a personal friendship, he is a hero to us as well as to so many  Indians and Sri Lankans, which makes him the perfect figurehead for a tour like this."

Indian Minerals Corporation are the naming rights sponsors for the tour, while Taj Hotels are also on board as a major sponsor. Each of the state's universities have also contributed to the project.

A wide range of academic disciplines have also been covered, ranging from law and media to commerce and human  movements. The players will also be joined by academic representatives from some of the universities.

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Neena Bhandari
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