x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Raja calls for India to be considered as venue

The former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja has said that the upcoming India-Pakistan series should be played in India rather than at a neutral venue if the tourists refuse to travel.

KARACHI // The former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja has said that the upcoming India-Pakistan series should be played in India rather than at a neutral venue if the tourists refuse to travel. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are working to reassure India that they will be safe to travel to their country in January to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a twenty20 international. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said it would send a team only if it receives clearance from the Indian government to travel.

"If security concerns are paramount then India should host the series," Raja said. The PCB chairman Ijaz Butt is hoping to convince India to tour as scheduled when he meets with BCCI officials and government officials later this week. Abu Dhabi, which recently hosted a three-match one-day series between Pakistan and the West Indies, has offered to host the series. England and Sharjah are also options.

Raja said shifting the series to a neutral venue would be detrimental to test cricket. "It will set an unhealthy, precedent," he said. "The game already has only a few teams which are eligible to carry themselves through five days of cricket with poise and dignity. "It's imperative Tests are held where there are at least a few die-hard fans of the longer format, because viewership is dwindling in traditionally strong centres as well. There is little cricket culture at neutral venues, so I don't know if Tests there are a good idea.

"It will be a waste if no one turns up to watch a marquee Test series. "Besides, no one will be touring Pakistan in the near future if India do not." * PA Sport