Goodwill mission to Pak with freebies to boot

Published on Jan 21, 2006 02:06 PM IST

The BCCI has decided to send at least one representative from each of its affiliated member states to Pak.

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None | ByAbhishek Hore, New Delhi

Where politicians tread warily, sports bodies have no such scruples. With the same intention of improving bilateral ties between the two countries, the BCCI has decided to send at least one representative from each of its affiliated member states to Pakistan on the sides of the ongoing tour -- on a goodwill mission.

Of course, it will also make every member association very happy and favours will be doled out carefully to each member state, but that is another matter.

A similar effort was made during the 2004 tour and the BCCI is upbeat that this will again contribute to the goodwill. "Yes, we have decided to send representatives.

"They will be able to witness at least one match - it could be an ODI or a Test. The Board will incur all the major expenses, including travelling and boarding," said BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah.

"Once they land in Pakistan they will be looked after by the PCB, who will give them daily and travelling allowances", Shah added.

Interestingly, some state associations have decided against sending representatives. "Some of the associations are unwilling for whatever personal reasons they have," said MP Pandove, Joint Secretary, BCCI.

"The idea, first mooted in 2004, was successful to an extent so we thought why not repeat the same as it is being done to foster harmony and mutual understanding between India and Pakistan," Pandove said, adding, "even all former captains can accompany them on the tour".

Of course, this will obviously see a quid pro quo ex change with the PCB sending their team of dignitaries and board members when Pakistan tour India next.

Shah said visits of this kind would encourage teams from both Punjabs to visit each other and participate in local tournaments, generally lowcost affairs. This in turn would lay the foundation for regular low-profile teams to play in Pakistan and vice-versa.

Pandove had one more point, one that should be noted by our sundry diplomats, when he drew a parallel between the Kashmir issue and the Lankan crisis.

"Back in the 80s and 90s, teams from Tamil Nadu used to visit Sri-Lanka and play against competitive teams. This, in a way, helped reduce tensions in northern Sri Lanka and southern India." How come no one took this further?

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