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Australia, English teams defer India T20 tour

Associated Press
Nov 27, 2008 at 10:00am IST

Melbourne: Australian and English provincial clubs postponed leaving for India for next week's Twenty20 Champions League because of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and cricket great Shane Warne said he will likely skip the tournament.

Terrorists killed at least 101 people, wounded at least 200 and took Westerners hostage in attacks across the southern India city, where the tournament was to start next Wednesday. One of the luxury hotels in flames, the Taj Mahal, was where English side Middlesex planned to stay.

Middlesex captain Shaun Udal told Sky Sports News on Wednesday the team's scheduled flight to Mumbai on Thursday was canceled. He said the team was waiting for new travel plans, as the games in Mumbai were reportedly moved to Bangalore.

ON THE BACK FOOT: Cricket great Shane Warne says he will likely skip the tournament.

Cricket Australia halted the departures of the Western Australia and Victoria state teams, along with test stars Mike Hussey, Matthew Hayden and Shane Watson who were playing for Indian clubs.

"The state of play at the moment is that that we are not expecting to have any really good understanding of what the situation is for the first 12 hours," CA spokesman Peter Young said.

"We are basically on temporary hold while we assess the situation, while we get expert advice and while we consult all of the parties who are involved. I wouldn't expect we would be doing anything for at least the next 12 hours."

Indian champions the Rajasthan Royals, captained by Warne and featuring allrounder Watson, were to play the Sialkot Stallions at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on December 5 and two other matches in Bangalore.

Warne told Melbourne's Herald-Sun newspaper Web site from Singapore that he would likely return to Australia and not travel to India.

Warne and his long-time friend, former Victorian wicketkeeper Darren Berry, were scheduled to catch a connecting flight to the Indian city ahead of the tournament. They are now likely to return to Melbourne.

"It's unbelievable, the place is chaos," Warne said. "We are heading to Mumbai and that (the Taj Mahal) is the hotel we are staying at. I don't think we will be going (to India) now — why would you?

"At this stage I am going to stay where I am for the rest of the day, but I reckon we are certainties to be on a flight heading home later today. It is just not worth the risk — no amount of money is worth the risk with what is going on over there at the moment."

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Cricket Australia's operations manager Michael Brown, who is a founding member of the Indian tournament and is on its organizing committee, was asked if the tournament might be canceled.

"All options are on the table," Brown said. Dean Kino, a Cricket Australia lawyer and one of the architects of the Champions League tournament, reportedly was in one of the Mumbai hotels targeted in the attacks but had been in contact with family and friends to say he was unharmed.

The attacks could yet affect the travel of England's test and limited-overs international teams, which are already in India.

England was in Cuttack on Wednesday, when it lost the fifth one-day international in a seven-game series. The team was due to travel to Guwahati for the next match on Saturday.

"We will be guided by the foreign office and will await developments," England spokesman Andrew Walpole said. "We need to get a clearer idea of what the situation is before we react further."

Mumbai was also the scheduled venue for the second test between England and India starting on December 19.

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