Australia concerned over Pakistan security


Darren Lehmann, the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) president, says Australia’s tour of Pakistan will go ahead only if the security reports deem the country safe.

Australia are due to play a three-Test series from March, but the internal situation in Pakistan is unpredictable following months of political instability that led to the government imposing a state of emergency in November.

“Security is paramount,” Lehmann said. “If there’s any risk at all the tour might not go ahead, but I’m not saying it won’t, it still could. If security says its fine, we will be going. “The players will be guided. (The ACA) are right behind the whole process that’s in place. We go and pre-visit.”

Lehmann will not be part of any delegation. “I don’t really want to go, but we get our CEO (Paul Marsh) to do that, and Cricket Australia send someone over there. All that’s in place. Security is the biggest thing, (looking at) hotels and what’s available and making sure everything’s up to scratch and we sign off and let the team go.”

Marsh went to Pakistan in July as part of a security review before the Australia A team toured in September, but Cricket Australia plans another visit early next year. Concerns have been raised with a spate of suicide bombings in Pakistan’s main centres since July and at the weekend the country was suspended from the Commonwealth. The International Cricket Council (ICC) have cancelled the Women’s World Cup qualifiers that were scheduled there in late November.

Lehmann did not expect any individual players would refuse to tour, like Stuart MacGill did with Zimbabwe in 2004, and said any choice would be a group decision. “Zimbabwe was a different scenario,” he said. “I see the players going with the whole package.

“We put everything on the table for them and it’s a group decision from there. They’re pretty much happy to go with what the ACA and Cricket Australia recommend. That will be a joint discussion along the way. If we say, ‘Look, we think it’s safe to go,’ they will go,” he added. Australia refused to tour in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the USA and the decision forced Pakistan to play their home series at neutral venues in Sri Lanka and Sharjah in 2002.

Source:Cricket News

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