Latif questions motives of India tourists

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The Independent Online

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif believes countries are willing to tour India following the terror attacks in Mumbai only because of the financial clout of the Board of Control in India.

England decided yesterday to return for a two-Test series despite abandoning a seven-match one-day programme five matches in because of the trouble in Mumbai.

Teams have refused to tour Pakistan, however, since the political unrest which saw former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto assassinated last December.

Australia indefinitely postponed a scheduled series in April this year, while the Champions Trophy was postponed after several teams refused to travel because of security concerns.

Latif hit out at Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who recently said India was crucial for the game.

"I think Ponting should be honest enough to say that the cricket world needs India only because of its huge commercial market for the game," Latif said.

"It has nothing to do with security.

"It is terrible the way the International Cricket Council and other boards are insisting on cricket resuming in India.

"What happened in Mumbai was terrible, but if teams can play in India why not in Pakistan?

"All this talk about security concerns by Australia and other teams now stands exposed.

"It is all about money and nothing else.

"If India didn't have the financial clout no team would bother to go there so soon after the Mumbai attacks."

Latif said security could not be guaranteed anywhere in the world.

"Anything can happen anywhere and when teams can accept security assurances from the BCCI and government, why can't they do the same when the PCB and the government urges them to tour?" he asked.

"The truth is no one can dare ignore the money India is putting into the game.

"It is nothing but greed."

Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam hailed England's decision to return for the Test series against India as a good sign for his country.

"I see it as a positive step," said Intikhab.

"This is a boost for Pakistan and hopefully teams will tour Pakistan as well."