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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 January, 2005, 09:38 GMT
Indian board confirms Test venues
Inzamam and Sourav Ganguly
Rival captains Inzamam-ul Haq and Sourav Ganguly
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has confirmed Mohali, Ahmedabad and Bangalore as venues for the home Test series against Pakistan.

The matches will begin on 4, 12 and 20 March, Pakistan's first series in India since 1999.

The two sides will also play one-day games at Kochin, Visakhapatnam, Kanpur Jamshedpur and Delhi.

The decision means Pakistan will not visit the major cities of Mumbai (Bombay), Calcutta or Madras (Chennai).

Mumbai's exclusion may be a result of Hindu fundamentalist party Shiv Sena voicing opposition Pakistan playing there.

No matches were staged there on Pakistan's last tour in 1999 after death threats from Shiv Sena, whose activists also dug up the pitch.

Ahmedabad was the scene of religious riots in 2002, but board secretary Karunakaran Nair said: "We have a policy to rotate matches among all the nine Test venues in India.

"It is Ahmedabad's turn to host one now."

Pakistan is sending police official Sohail Khan and PCB official Zakir Khan to India next week.

"It's a proposed itinerary and our venue inspection committee is going to India on January 24 and will submit its report after a five-day tour," said Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Abbas Zaidi.

"We did not set any pre-series conditions [about] where to play and where not to play. Ahmedabad is just like any other venue."

Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag said the onus will be on the home team to perform.

He told the BBC: "Pakistan will have the upper hand because we have lost a few times to them in recent matches. So, the pressure will be on us."


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