Senior players unwilling to tour Pakistan?

Updated: 26 November 2008 17:10 IST

Fresh uncertainty clouded India's tour of Pakistan with reports that some senior players are unwilling to travel to the strife-torn country.

Senior players unwilling to tour Pakistan?

New Delhi:

Fresh uncertainty on Wednesday clouded India's cricket tour of Pakistan with reports that some senior players are unwilling to travel to the strife-torn country because of security concerns.

Television channels said that captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag were unwilling to go on the tour scheduled early next year.

The reports, quoting sources, said that the players had conveyed their views to the BCCI.

The BCCI, however, said that it had not received any communication from the players expressing their reluctance to tour Pakistan for the Test and one-day series.

"We have not received any such communication from the players, that is all I can say", BCCI's Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty told PTI.

Senior official Rajiv Shukla also rubbished the reports, saying no player had approached the BCCI on this matter.

"When the team for the Pakistan tour has not yet been selected yet, where is the question of players saying they don't want to tour", said Shukla, who is also the Chairman of the Finance Committee.

The tour, in any case, appears to be in trouble with the government here being apprehensive on account of security of the team.

The final decision on the tour, scheduled from January 6 to February 19, will be taken within the next ten days on the basis of the assessment by a high-level team of officials that will be going to Pakistan shortly.

Even as uncertainty prevailed over the tour, Pakistan's foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Dhoni and his men were welcome to his country.

"The Indian team is welcome to Pakistan. Indians are welcome to Pakistan," Qureshi told reporters today on arrival for a four-day visit.

But sources had said last week that the risk of undertaking the tour was high considering the prevailing security situation in Pakistan and "no sensible government" would take it.

The sources cited the recent terror attack on a national sporting event in Peshawar to cite the example of the security situation in Pakistan.

Top cricket nations, including Australia, have refused to tour Pakistan in recent times because of the security situation in the strife-torn country which 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 to the Pakistan Cricket Board that it would tour Pakistan only if it got the clearance from the government which remained apprehensive despite assurance of a fool-proof security arrangement.

BCCI President Shashank Manohar has told his PCB counterpart Ejaz Butt that he had written to his government for the clearance of the tour and the BCCI is expected to get a reply in the next ten to 12 days.

Butt will visit India early next month to have discussions with BCCI bigwigs to try to ensure that the tour goes ahead.

India is due to tour Pakistan to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a twenty20 game and the itinerary of the tour has been agreed upon by both the Boards.

The government this month stopped the Indian junior hockey team from touring Pakistan for a test series as it was not satisfied with the security arrangements made by the Pakistani authorities.

The PCB has talked about shifting the series to a neutral venue including England or switching the series with India in case the Indian government does not give clearance for the tour.

Topics : Cricket India
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