Abu Dhabi, Nov.15 : The Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) Chief Operating Officer, Saleem Altaf, has voiced confidence that India's tour of Pakistan will go ahead as planned.
"We have not heard anything from the Indian Board and until we hear something contrary, the Indian team will play the first match on the 9th January in Hyderabad and the first Test starts on the 13th in Karachi," The News quoted Altaf as telling reporters here.
Altaf's remarks assume importance in the wake of the Indian government cancelling a low-profile junior hockey team's tour to Pakistan over security fears earlier this week, further raising doubts over the cricket series.
"The cricket tour is a high profile one, with both the boards guided by what their governments tell them, and normally there is a security assessment tour which will take place before the series," said Altaf.
If Pakistan were forced to shift the series to the neutral venues of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates or to England in summer, they would endanger their home series against Australia in March and the Champions Trophy in September next year.
Australia were the first to shun a tour of Pakistan in March this year over security fears. They rescheduled the Tests for March 2009 and one-day matches for 2010.
The International Cricket Council, forced to put off the Trophy over security fears in August this year over security fears, rescheduled the event to September next year but said Pakistan hosting India will be a trial for the elite event.
Altaf said the option of neutral venues would only be considered as a last resort.