Musharraf likely to watch Bangalore Test: Zaidi

MOHALI, MARCH 11. The Director, Board Operations, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Abbas Zaidi, speaking to The Hindu here on Friday said the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, was likely to visit India during the Test series.

"He was a keen sportsperson himself, and is the chief patron of the PCB. It was a wonderful gesture by the Indian government to extend an invitation to Mr. Musharraf. Whether he watches the second or the third Test would depend on his schedule, but my guess is that it could be the Bangalore match. His visit will further improve India-Pakistan relations," Mr. Zaidi said.

Mr. Zaidi also expressed concern at the decline in the quality of Pakistan's pace bowling. "It is also sad that Umar Gul and Shabbir Ahmed, two young and promising pacemen, have fitness concerns. Gul has a back injury and Shabbir, a knee problem. Both are recovering at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore," he said.

He justified the promotion of Younis Khan, who had a nightmarish time on the field and at the crease here, to vice-captain's position. "There were very good reasons for his elevation. Personally, I would like to wait for two or three more Tests before arriving at a judgment on him," Mr. Zaidi said.

The menace of match-fixing was on the wane, he opined. "I don't think it is happening now. The ICC has come up with some strong deterrents," he said.

On the atmosphere in the first Test, he said, "It has been electric. To see a Test match attracting such a large crowd is a tremendous feeling. The manner in which the Pakistani fans have been welcomed here is heartening," he added.