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Published: Friday, December 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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London: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Monday that England's tour of India was still going ahead and that the ultimate decision on whether it should take place at all rested with them. [an error occurred while processing this directive]A number of England players, including captain Nasser Hussain, have expressed their reservations about going to India at this time because of its relative proximity to Afghanistan, which is being bombed in response to the terror attacks in the United States on September 11. However, the ECB have received the go-ahead from the British Government's Foreign Office and Rob Young, the head of the British Embassy in New Delhi. The England squad is due to meet Young at Lord's on Tuesday to discuss the tour but the ECB insisted, it will be ECB and not the players, who will decide if England tour India. ECB spokesman John Read said, "We have received a signed document saying in the Foreign Office's view it's safe for the tour to go ahead. It sees no reason at this point in time why it shouldn't go ahead." Former England all-rounder Ian Botham said on Monday it was impossible for the tour to go ahead as planned in the current climate. But Read added, "Ultimately it is down to the ECB to decide the future of the tour and at the moment it's definitely on." Whether players would be willingly allowed to opt out of the tour by the ECB was something Read refused to confirm or deny. "We will have to cross that bridge when we come to it. The players will have to decide whether they feel reassured by what they hear on Tuesday and we hope that all the players selected will tour with England."

Copyright AFP 2001

India tour is impossible, says Botham

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