India on for an English snub
November 20, 2005 18:56 IST
Piqued by Board of Control for Cricket in India's refusal to alter the venues for England tour early next year, the visitors are planning a diplomatic snub by playing their warm-up games in Pakistan, media reported on Sunday.
It would be a significant step by England in their feud with the Indian Board, who have drafted an itinerary, which can only be called humiliating, The Sunday Telegraph said in a report.
"Assuming that the itinerary is confirmed at an Indian Board meeting on Nov 29-30, England will reject both warm-up venues," Scyld Berry, the writer, said quoting sources.
Instead, England would play two practice games in Pakistan before flying via Delhi to Ahmedabad for the first Test which begins on March 8.
Colonel Naushad Ali, Pakistan Cricket Board's Media Co-ordinator, confirmed England had made such an approach.
"I'm sure we can arrange something between Islamabad and Lahore," Ali was quoted in the report.
The only previous occasion on which England had gone out of their way to practice in another country was last winter when they preferred to warm-up in Namibia before flying to Zimbabwe.
"That England are considering treating India in the same way, barring a change of leadership in the Indian Board elections this month reflects their discontent," the report said.
According to the newspaper, the ECB were shocked when the itinerary was announced as Mumbai, where the third Test will be played, is the only one of top ten venues where England will play.
"But the final straw came on Thursday when England were told the two three-day practice games at the start of their tour had been allocated to the northeast; one in Jamshedpur, a steel city, the other in Agartala, which has never staged a significant game of cricket.
"The main hotel in Agartala has rooms costing less than 5 pounds per night, according to its website," the report claimed.
The newspaper claimed that the feud between England and India went back to the 1996 World Cup, which the former thought they were going to stage before the latter grabbed it and made a fortune out of it.
"The relationship was made worse by the animosity between former ECB chairman, Lord MacLaurin and the power-broker of Indian cricket Jagmohan Dalmiya," the report claimed.