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Senior players unwilling to tour Pakistan: reports

November 26, 2008 20:54 IST

A cloud of uncertainty surrounds the Indian cricket team's tour of Pakistan as some senior players are reportedly unwilling to travel to the strife-torn country because of security concerns.

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

The reports, quoting sources, said the players have conveyed their views to the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The BCCI, however, said it hasn't received any communication from the players expressing 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 said.

BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla also rubbished the reports.

"When the team for the Pakistan tour has not yet been selected, where is the question of players saying they don't want to tour," Shukla, who is also chairman of the BCCI's finance committee, said.

The tour, in any case, appears in trouble as the government is apprehensive about the players' security.

A final decision on the tour, scheduled from January 6 to February 19, will be taken within the next ten days after an assessment by a high-level team that will travel to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, despite the uncertainty, Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi appeared unfazed on arrival in India on a four-day visit.

"The Indian team is welcome to Pakistan. Indians are welcome to Pakistan," Qureshi told reporters.

Last week, sources in the Indian government has said the risk of undertaking the tour is 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.

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.

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

The BCCI has already made it clear to the Pakistan Cricket Board that it will tour Pakistan only if it gets clearance from the government.

India is due 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.