Can't afford a scratch on Sachin: Govt sources

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Amidst uncertainty over India's impending tour of Pak, the government sources reiterated that there would be a security assessment before confirmation.

Updated: November 22, 2008 17:55 IST
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New Delhi:

Amidst growing uncertainty over the Indian cricket team's impending tour of Pakistan, government sources reiterated on Friday that a security team would make an assessment in the next two weeks before reaching any final decision.

"The security team will make an assessment in the next two weeks whether the Indian team can go to Pakistan or not," Indian government sources told NDTV. "We can't afford a scratch on Sachin Tendulkar," an official was quoted as saying.

The statement follows today's developments in Pakistan as another blast took place at the funeral of a Shiite Muslim cleric in the northwest, claiming at least eight lives.

Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had sought security clearance from the government to go ahead with the tour.

"The tour will be finalised once we get the clearance from the government. Nothing can be confirmed before that," Board President Shashank Manohar had said.

India are scheduled to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match during the five-week tour from January 13 to February 19.

It will be the fifth bilateral series between the two countries since 2004, when cricket ties resumed after a 15-year gap due to political tensions between the warring neighbours.

The tour was put in doubt after the Indian government denied permission to the national junior hockey team to visit Pakistan earlier this month.

Australia cancelled a Test tour of Pakistan in March and the International Cricket Council put off the high-profile Champions Trophy there in September due to security concerns.

Recent media reports have suggested that the series could be held in India or at a neutral venue if the Indian government denies permission to play in Pakistan.

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