ICL: Indian Cricket League

Pakistan to renew talks on saving Aussie tour


Top Pakistani and Australian cricket officials will meet on February 17 in Kuala Lumpur on the sidelines of the ICC Under-19 World Cup for a second round of talks aimed at saving their bilateral series scheduled to begin next month.

A top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told ‘The News’ on Sunday that the two parties would renew talks over the fate of Australia’s tour of Pakistan just a couple of weeks after the chairmen of the two boards met in Dubai to discuss the issue.

The Australians are reluctant in touring Pakistan during March-April to play three Tests, five One-day International and a Twenty20 game because of security fears. But Pakistan have assured them

Shafqat Naghmi, the Board’s Chief Operating Officer, will meet his Australian counterpart James Sutherland in Malaysia next Sunday just before the opening ceremony of the Under-19 World Cup.

“For us the home series against Australia is one of the most important events of the year and we would make all efforts to save it,” Naghmi said in a telephonic conversation from Lahore. “That is precisely why PCB chairman (Nasim Ashraf) met with his Cricket Australia counterpart (Creagh O’Connor) in Dubai earlier this month. In Kuala Lumpur next week, I would try to convince him (Sutherland) that Australia should visit Pakistan for the betterment of cricket,” he added.

Naghmi also welcomed a statement given by Sutherland on Sunday in which he said that CA will soon be sending a security team to Pakistan.

“We believe that it is a positive development and hope that their security experts would back the tour,” said Naghmi.

Sutherland told the ‘Sunday Telegraph’ that CA officials will visit Pakistan shortly on a fact-finding mission to determine if the planned tour of the country next month will proceed.

CA official Michael Brown, Players’ Association boss Paul Marsh, Australian team manager Steve Bernard and CA’s security experts have been asked to be on standby to fly to Pakistan.

Sutherland said the timing of the recce team would be decided in consultation with the PCB but hinted it could be within days.

PCB has lined up Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad as venues for the tour matches but CA had said it had expressed reservations with the choice of the venues.

“Obviously it would be preferable to play at major venues away from any unrest. We have been to Pakistan often enough recently with A teams and under-19s to know what to expect at particular venues,” Sutherland said.

Source:Cricket News

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