India’s cricket tour of Pakistan has been officially called off, with the government refusing permission in view of “recent developments as well as the overall circumstances prevailing at present”.
The decision “was based on multiple considerations”, said a senior government official who did want to be identified. Among the reasons: the Mumbai attacks, the need to step up pressure on Pakistan at all levels, and concern over possible protests in India if the team went on tour.
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherkee and sports minister M.S. Gill spoke to BCCI president Shashank Manohar to convey the government’s reasoning behind the decision.
While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the government had to make the decision, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) termed the cancellation disappointing.
“We received a communication from the government stating that it is not feasible to tour Pakistan in the present circumstances,” said Ratnakar Shetty, CAO, BCCI.
PCB chief Ijaz Butt said, “We take this decision as disappointing — something which will hurt Pakistan cricket badly — but it was beyond our control.” The cancellation will deal a financial blow to the PCB’s already depleted coffers.
The BCCI hoped the cancellation would not affect the ties between the two boards and their joint hosting of the next World Cup.
India were scheduled to tour Pakistan from January 6 to February 28.
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