India tour is impossible, says Botham

Published: Monday, October 22, 2001, 15:40 [IST]
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London: England's cricket tour of India cannot possibly go ahead in view of the Afghanistan conflict, former Test star Ian Botham said on Sunday.
England captain Nasser Hussain and his teammates are to meet with New Delhi's High Commissioner to London on Tuesday to discuss whether the tour can be completed safely. Members of the England squad have already aired their concerns about the three-match Test series - and now Botham has chipped in with his views. He feels there has been too much unrest following the US air strikes on Afghanistan, even in the Indian sub-continent, for the players' safety to be assured. "I personally think it's impossible that it can go ahead. There's too much going on in the world at the moment and India is too close to the centre of the problems," Botham told BBC Radio Five Live. "When you've got a stadium with 60,000 people there, the England team is a target for someone who wants to make a point. "Don't get me wrong, I love India, it's a beautiful country and I have got a lot of friends out there, but under the present circumstances I wouldn't want to go out there and play," he said. "I have to say I really would feel a little uneasy about it and I don't see any point in prolonging the agony. "The players' minds will be elsewhere and something must happen whether it's to postpone it or move it to a neutral venue, but there were problems in Islamabad and that's just too close," he added.

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