Team India not to tour Pakistan: Sources

Indian cricket team's upcoming tour of Pakistan is virtually off in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Mumbai, a highly placed source said on Sunday.

updated: November 30, 2008 10:28 IST
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New Delhi:

Indian cricket team's upcoming tour of Pakistan is virtually off in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Mumbai, a highly placed source said on Sunday.

A neutral venue for the two countries to play the series, which was one of the options, has also been ruled out, according to a top official who said, "the chances of the tour going on is very minimal."

India were scheduled to play three Test matches, five one dayers and a Twenty20 match during their tour of Pakistan from January 6-February 19.

"After what happened in Mumbai, the chance of an Indian team going to Pakistan is minimal. Of course it is for the government to inform the BCCI about the final decision but the situation is such that it appears that cricket between the two countries is unlikely," the source added.

He also said the government could also sever cricketing ties with Pakistan as it had done in the past.

The tour was clouded with uncertainty because of the security situation in the strife-torn Pakistan.

India was due to send a recce team to assess the security situation there before taking a final decision but even that looks unlikely following the Mumbai mayhem.

The Pakistan Cricket Board, however, maintains that the country is safe for players and even offered to play the series at a neutral venue in case India refused to tour.

When contacted, senior BCCI official Rajiv Shukla said that the board has not received any communication in this regard from the government.

"The BCCI secretary N Srinivasan has told me that no such communication has come from the government. We will abide by whatever the government tells us regarding the tour," Shukla said.

Incidentally, senior Indian cricketers, including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag are unwilling to tour Pakistan and have reportedly conveyed their views to the BCCI.

Though Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Dhoni and his men were welcome to his country, sources said the risk of undertaking the tour was high, considering the prevailing security situation in Pakistan, and "no sensible government" would take it.

Hit hard by teams after teams refusing to tour the country because of the volatile security situation there, a trouble-torn Pakistan has not hosted a major international tournament since the Asia Cup in June this year.

The high-profile Champions Trophy, which was originally scheduled to be held in Pakistan in September this year, had to be deferred with most teams refusing to tour the country.

The BCCI has already made it clear that it would tour Pakistan only after getting a go-ahead from the government which was apprehensive despite assurance of a fool-proof security arrangement.

Desperate to salvage the series, PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt decided to tour India to convince the BCCI top brass and also offered to shift the series to a neutral venue, possibly Abu Dhabi or England, but after the Mumbai attacks, even that possibility is now virtually non-existent.