Neutral venue not an option for Pak series right now: Shukla

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The BCCI is not considering shifting next year's series in Pak as yet as it would first await the decision on the security situation, according to sources.

Updated: November 19, 2008 16:19 IST
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The BCCI is not considering the option of shifting next year's series in Pakistan to a neutral venue as yet, according to a top official, who said the Board would first await the government's decision on the security situation in the strife-torn country.

BCCI Finance Committee Chairman Rajiv Shukla told reporters that from the Board's point of view, the tour was never in doubt.

Asked if BCCI was exploring the option of playing in neutral venues, an idea mooted by PCB in case India refuses to tour Pakistan, Shukla said, "We are not thinking about neutral venues. For us the tour is on and we are waiting for the government clearance."

"For us, the tour is very much on and all we are waiting for is a go-ahead from the Centre," Shukla said at the Green Park Stadium.

Pakistan's volatile scenario has seen a number of visiting teams cancelling their tour of the strife-torn country and this year's Champions Trophy was also postponed after some of the teams were reluctant to send their teams.

A desperate Pakistan Cricket Board is now pinning hopes on India to prove that the country remains safe for tour. But PCB is already feeling the jitters after an Indian junior hockey team was not granted permission to tour Pakistan for safety reasons.

Talking about Thursday's match, Shukla said Match Referee Roshan Mahanama had a meeting with the organisers in which he pointed out instances like people walking in front of sightscreen resulting in delays.

"A number of issues were discussed in the meeting, including how to stop movement in front of the sightscreen. We have decided that there should not be any such movement in front of it. It's already winter, such delays would complicated things and we don't want matches to be decided by Duckworth-Lewis method.

"So, we have decided to deploy special cops manning the area and then 10 youngsters would also be there to ensure no one crosses the sightscreen when the match is in progress," Shukla said.

Shukla, meanwhile, took the occasion to welcome 'Barmy Army', England's band of supporters for the second Test in Mumbai after they reportedly decided against touring Ahmedabad, venue of the first Test, for the ban on alcohol in Gujarat.

"I wholeheartedly welcome them in Mumbai. Gujarat is the state of Mahatma Gandhi and if there is a certain law that prevents liquor there, I don't think we need to make change to that. They are most welcome in Mumbai," he said.

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