Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Minister opposes tour of Pakistan

India team in Chennai
The India team is currently playing England in Chennai

India's cricket tour of Pakistan should not go ahead in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, India's sports minister says.

MS Gill said it was not right to play cricket when "people from their soil were indulging in mass murder".

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had asked for security clearance but Mr Gill's comments suggest it will not be granted.

Pakistan has denied any involvement in last month's Mumbai attacks that left more than 170 people dead.

Neutral venue?

India had been scheduled to play three Test matches, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match from 6 January to 19 February.

But Mr Gill asked: "Is it possible for one team to arrive in Mumbai and indulge in mass murder, and have another team go and play cricket in the winter afternoon sun at Lahore, immediately after?"

Mr Gill said it was up to the government to make a final decision.

His comments came a day after the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Ijaz Butt, flew to India to try to salvage the series.

Mr Butt is due to meet International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat and BCCI officials in the southern city of Chennai on Friday.

India has already blocked a tour to Pakistan by its junior hockey team.

Pakistan Sports Minister Aftab Jilani said he still had a "ray of hope" for the cricket tour.

"Cricket has a huge popularity in both countries and it will help ease the tension if the Indian cricket team tours Pakistan next month," he said.

But he also added: "There's a possibility of playing the series at a neutral venue."

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