Dec 18, 2008

Sport - Cricket;India won't tour Pakistan: report

India's scheduled cricket tour to Pakistan next month will not go ahead, even at a neutral venue, a report said on Thursday quoting an unnamed person from India's High Commission in Islamabad.

"Under the present situation, that has emerged from the 'Mumbai mayhem', all hopes of Indian cricket team's visit to Pakistan have vanished," the source was quoted to say in Dawn, a major English-language newspaper in Pakistan.

India was due to tour Pakistan for three tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international between January 8-February 19. The tour was always in doubt due to long-standing security concerns, and last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai which killed 164 people made it much less likely it would proceed.

Indian authorities said all the militants originated from Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is yet to receive an official decision from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the state of the tour. The BCCI is awaiting advice from its government whether to proceed with the tour or not.

The PCB had expressed willingness to host the series at a neutral venue, possibly in Abu Dhabi or Sharjah, if India refused to tour Pakistan, but even that contingency appeared unlikely.

"The people and the government officials in India have their firm belief that playing with Pakistan at any venue is simply out of question and no possibility in this regard should at all be explored," the Commission source was quoted as telling the newspaper.

Normally security experts from touring countries visit Pakistan ahead of the arrival of the team to scrutinize security arrangements, but the High Commission official ruled out such a possibility.

"The (Indian) government is not willing to send the security experts to Pakistan to assess the security concerns or hold any talks with the PCB," the source said.

Pakistan has already lost two major home events this year due to security concerns, with Australia pulling out of a scheduled tour and the International Cricket Council postponing the Champions Trophy one-day tournament.

The further loss of a tour by its biggest cricket rival would cause a major financial problem for the PCB.

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