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UAE willing to host India matches including 'Champions Trophy'

Dubai, Nov 28 (UNI) In the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai that has rocked India, United Arab Emirates (UAE) has offered to host future matches involving Indian teams including the Champions League after foriegn teams are unwilling to tour the country.

England's remaining two one-day matches have been cancelled and the Twenty20 Champions League also has been postponed following the atrocities in Mumbai which started on Wednesday night.

However, the Englishmen are expected to return for the Test matches.

Dilawar Mani, president of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council, feels that if international teams are unwilling to tour India, then Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Stadium, which recently staged Pakistan's three-match ODI series against the West Indies, remains a geographically close, politically safe and a logical choice for future Indian internationals.

''If requested then most certainly we would be interested in hosting India, or the Champions League,'' Mani was quoted as saying by 'The Telegraph'.

''We're very proud of our facility as well as the surroundings.

We would be extremely pleased to help out with anything related to cricket.

''We are not trying to be opportunistic, but if the cricket boards would like to find alternative venues then we have proved we can be a successful host.

''The UAE is a safe country, and we have consistently supported the game,'' he affirmed.

Mani further said shifting the Ahmedabad Test to Abu Dhabi would be unfeasible given the timescales. And for tight schedules, it seems that the Test series will have to go ahead in India or not at all.

But a greater concern for the BCCI remains the Champions League, which has been postpond till early next year. However, the cricketing authorities hope that the two-Test series with England - due to start in Ahmedabad on Dec 11 - can still be saved.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has called for the Champions League to be moved away from India, while Shane Warne, captain of Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Rajasthan Royals said, ''Players will be reluctant to return to the country despite the huge financial rewards on offer.

''No amount of money is worth the risk with what is going on over there at the moment,'' the spin wizard said.

The three founding boards - India, Australia and South Africa - have also signed a broadcast deal with ESPN worth 1 billion dollar over 10 seasons.

Abu Dhabi, however, bid to host the first edition of the Champions League, and Mani added that his organisation remain interested in staging the tournament in the future.


Story first published: Friday, November 28, 2008, 13:06 [IST]
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