India’s cricket tour to Pakistan called off (Lead)

December 18th, 2008 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) India’s cricket tour to Pakistan was called off Thursday in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks which strained relations between the neighbours and because some players perceived a threat to their security.The central government asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not to go ahead with the tour in the “present scenario”. According to government sources, Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee and Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs M.S. Gill had spoken to BCCI President Shashank Manohar to convey their decision.

“We cannot go ahead with the tour,” BCCI spokesperson Rajeev Shukla said. “It is standard procedure. The government told us it could not permit the tour permit tour in the present scenario.”

The Indians were scheduled to play three Tests, five one-dayers and one Twenty20 match in Pakistan in January-February 2009.

Relations between the two countries have soured since the Mumbai terror attacks with India squarely blaming Pakistan for the incident.

Gill said a few days back that the tour was not possible under the present circumstances.

Senior players of the Indian side were reportedly apprehensive about touring Pakistan because of the security situation there.

India had earlier called off their junior hockey team’s tour to Pakistan on security grounds, but that was a fortnight before the Mumbai attacks.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has been working overtime and using diplomatic channels to save the tour as the Pakistan team has played little cricket in the last one year.

Australia refused to tour Pakistan and then the International Cricket Council postponed the Champions Trophy after several teams were not ready to play in the country due to safety fears.

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