Monday, April 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

India not to play at Sharjah
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1
In a policy announcement, the government today refused permission to its national cricket team to play in the Sharjah three-nation tournament and advised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not to participate in ‘non-regular venues’ for at least next three years.

“The government has decided, after careful consideration, that the Indian cricket team should not participate in cricket tournaments at non-regular venues such as Sharjah, Singapore, Toronto etc, for at least three years,” an official press release said here.

“The BCCI has accordingly been informed that the Indian cricket team should not participate in the forthcoming tournament in Sharjah commencing from April 8, 2001,” the release said.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand are the other teams for the tournament.

Even though it is a major setback to the cricket loving public of the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere like in Canada and the USA, Pakistan’s continued support and abetment to cross border terrorism has been the most pressing reason for taking such a decision, official sources pointed out.

The government had similarly refused permission to its national cricket eleven to play a Test series in December-January this year in Pakistan.

Earlier, the government had declined permission to the cricket team to cross the Atlantic to play Pakistan in the annual Sahara Cup in Toronto in 1999 after the Kargil war.

With Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee taking his Ramazan ceasefire initiative in November last year, cricket circles were somewhat hopeful that the government may review its earlier stand and permit cricketing ties with Pakistan at a neutral venue.

But with reports of match-fixing allegation at off-shore venues and the presence of underworld in Sharjah forced the authorities to stick to its earlier decision.

Chief of Cricketers’ Benovalent Fund Series (CBFS) Sheikh Abdur Rehman Bukhatir, who is the organiser of Sharjah tournament, came down to the capital few days back in his last ditch effort to ensure India’s participation but he had to return empty handed.

Union Sports Minister Uma Bharati was away from the capital and she was expected to be back here only on April 4. Consequently, Sheikh Bukhatir could not meet her.


PCB to boycott India

Islamabad, April 1
Reacting to India’s decision to pull out of the three-nation Sharjah tournament, the Pakistan Cricket Board today said it stuck to its decision to boycott India in all future tournaments.

Talking to PTI over the telephone from the board headquarters in Lahore, the Director of the board, Brig Munawar Ahemmed Rana, said enough had been said on this subject already. The board’s decision not to play India in future would be forwarded to the Pakistan Government for approval by its Chairman, Gen Tauqir Zia. PTI


Chinese fighter hit by US plane crashes

Beijing, April 1
China said one of its fighters crashed today after being rammed in mid-air by a US aircraft, which landed on the southern island of Hainan without permission.

According to the US Navy version, one of its EP-3 marine patrol aircraft was on a “routine surveillance’’ mission over the South China Sea when it brushed one of two Chinese fighters on an interception mission.

The four-engine propeller plane carrying 24 crew made an emergency landing on Hainan, the US statement said.

But China laid the blame squarely on the US plane.

“A Chinese aircraft was conducting normal flight operations 10 km south of Hainan island when a US plane suddenly veered towards it,’’ Chinese state television quoted the Foreign Ministry statement as saying. Reuters

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