England tour of India - News - Cricket: British media plays up riots in Malegaon, says tour in doubt

Published: Monday, October 29, 2001, 3:35 [IST]
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London: Even as uncertainty persisted on England team's tour of India, the British media on Sunday played up the violence at Malegaon in Maharashtra saying it has cast a doubt on the forthcoming event."England's tour is hanging by a thread on Sunday morning after police shot dead seven people in anti-western protests in the state of Maharashtra," a report in the Sunday Times said.Malegaon has been rocked by violence since on Friday claiming eight lives and injuring several others.But Lord MacLaurin, the chairman of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), was apparently unfazed by incidents in Malegaon and made it clear that, "At the moment, the tour is clearly on and that has been our position all along." He, however added, "We will continue to take advice from the Foreign Office," he said, adding, "If the Foreign Office says it is safe to go then we will go." But Richard Bevan, the players' official representative, said there had to be serious concern over the likelihood of it going ahead. "I am sure the ECB will be taking advice from the Foreign Office but there has to be serious concern," he said.John Carr, the ECB's director of cricket operations, was this week due to travel to India with a list of demands. Bevan, who has represented the players' interest throughout the negotiations, is scheduled to go with him. "An assessment of security measures will be made and the Indian authorities will be asked to confirm in writing that they will be adhered to," said Bevan."If they are breached, as has been the case in the past, the tour will either be cancelled or, if already out there, the players will come home." If the tour is now called off because of the violence, it will prevent what could have been an embarrassing row with the Indian authorities, the newspaper stated.BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya was quoted as saying that until he had been contacted officially by the ECB he could not comment on the likely reaction to Carr's request.Dalmiya pointed out that the England tour had already been passed as safe by the Indian government under whose control all matters of security fall but that was before the protests, the report said. Eleven players have already committed themselves to the tour. Five other players Andy Caddick, Robert Croft, Ashley Giles, Craig White and Marcus Trescothick have requested more time to consider their position. They have been given until Monday to make up their minds. PTI

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