DOWN: The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after the Sept. 21 bombing. The hotel was used by international cricket teams.
Top Indian cricket players, including captain M S Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, are unwilling to tour Pakistan in January because they fear for their security.
Sources tell that senior players have expressed their concern to the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). The team is scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs from January 4 to February 19 tour in Pakistan.
Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh too have expressed their unwillingness to tour Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has assured foolproof security but the Indians believe the threat during the tour would be severe.
PCB chief Ejaz Butt is scheduled to visit India soon to try and convince the BCCI but that plea is now likely to fall on deaf ears.
It is known that the Ministry of External Affairs is unlikely to permit the Indian team to tour Pakistan.
Early November, the government refused to permit the Indian junior hockey team to tour Pakistan due to security concerns.
The Associated Press reports the International Cricket Council deferred the Champions Trophy in September after five of the eight participating teams refused to compete at the biennial tournament that is considered the second most prestigious one-day event after the World Cup.
The PCB has said it would consider playing India at a neutral venue or possibly switch series as alternatives. Pakistan is due to tour India in 2010.
GUNNED DOWN: Dhoni enjoys ‘Z’ category security and has a non-prohibited gun license.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been asked by the Ranchi District Arms Magistrate to produce a character certificate for getting a license to keep a 9mm pistol.
The Magistrate recently wrote to Dhoni that he should furnish a Swachchhata Praman Patra (character certificate) if he wished to procure the weapon in view of the increasing criminal activities in Jharkhand, police said on Wednesday.
The certificate could be obtained from SP (Special Branch), SP (Vigilance) and SP (CID), said the letter, in the first official communication after the cricketer applied for the weapon in September.
Annoyed over the requirement of ‘character certificate’ from their hero, a group of Dhoni fans on Wednesday demonstrated at the Elbert Ekka Chowk.
Dhoni enjoys ‘Z’ category security and has a non-prohibited gun license.
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