India to tour Pakistan in spite of bombings

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Lahore, Sep 24 (UNI) In spite of the latest bombing in adjoining Islamabad, India will play a Test and a One-day International in Rawalpindi on their tour of Pakistan early next year.

The blast on Saturday evening devastated the five-star Marriott hotel in Islamabad and killed at least 60 people.

''India will play a Test and a One-day International in Rawalpindi because the itinerary was approved by India before the Islamabad blast,'' Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said.

''We hope normalcy returns by the time India tours us.'' The Champions Trophy, the second biggest tournament after the World Cup, was due to be held earlier this month but was cancelled due to security concerns in Pakistan.

The Indian team stayed in the Marriott on their last two visits in 2004 and 2006. They also played a Test and a one-day in Rawalpindi in 2004 and a one-day in 2006.

Naghmi said Rawalpindi is one of the most important venues in Pakistan.

''We have recently renovated the stadium in Rawalpindi and hope when India tours us all will be well,'' said Naghmi.

The Indian team will arrive in Karachi on January 4 to play three Tests, five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 on their 47-day tour.

The tour begins with a three-day side match at Hyderabad starting on January 6, while Karachi will host the first Test from January 13 to 17.

The teams will play the second Test in Rawalpindi from January 21 to 25 and the third in Lahore from January 29 to February 2.

The one-day series will start from February 6 in Faisalabad. The remaining matches will be played in Lahore (February 8), Rawalpindi (February 11), Multan (February 14) and Karachi (February 17).

Karachi will host the only Twenty20 match on February 19.

Itinerary of India team's tour to Pakistan: January 4 arrival in Karachi. January 6-8 three-day side match Hyderabad. January 13-17 first Test Karachi. January 21-25 second Test Rawalpindi. January 29-February 2 third Test Lahore. February 6 first One-day International Faisalabad. February 8 second One-day International Lahore. February 11 third One-day International Rawalpindi. February 14 fourth One-day International Multan. February 17 fifth One-day International Karachi. February 19 Twenty20 match Karachi.

UNI XC CS AB KN1047

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