ICL: Indian Cricket League

Pakistan will not travel to Australia if CA opts to cancel tour


National cricket officials have warned that their team’s tour of Australia next year would be called off if the world champions opted to cancel their forthcoming series in Pakistan over security concerns.

Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told ‘The News’ on Wednesday that Pakistani officials have ‘indirectly’ conveyed it to their Cricket Australia counterparts that a negative decision from the Aussies over their tour of Pakistan would have adverse influence on the return tour next year. According to the ICC Future Tour Programme (FTP) is pencilled Pakistan are scheduled to play a full series in Australia in 2009.

Top Pakistan and Australian cricket officials met in Dubai on the sidelines of an International Cricket Council (ICC) moot to save a bilateral series scheduled to start next month. PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf had a meeting with his CA counterpart Creagh O’Connor to discuss the details of the bilateral series that is under a cloud after several Australian players raised concerns over their safety in Pakistan.

The Australians are supposed to travel to Pakistan next month to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 International during March-April. According to the sources, the Pakistani officials were not very happy with the non-committal approach of the Australian cricket bosses, who kept on saying that a final decision on the tour would only be taken after February 18 general elections in Pakistan.

Apart from Ashraf and O’Connor, the meeting was also attended by Zakir Khan, PCBís Director of Cricket Operations, and his Australian counterpart Michael Brown. Sources said that the Australians did not give a very positive response to PCB’s presentation on the itinerary of the series as well as the security cover that would be provided to their players and officials during their tour.

“They (Australian officials) kept on repeating during the meeting that any decision on the tour would come after February 18 and the PCB will have to wait till then,” said a source. The PCB officials pointed out that last year Australia’s Under-19 cricketers as well as their A team visited Pakistan without any problems.

But according to the sources, the CA officials are reluctant in giving any commitments on the tour because they seem to be under pressure from their leading cricketers. Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds and his teammate Michael Clarke have publicly expressed their concerns over the tour.

Sources said that during the Dubai meeting, the CA officials once again asked whether there was a possibility of holding the series on neutral soil. But Ashraf reiterated his stance over the issue saying that having the series organized at some neutral venue would hurt Pakistan cricket.

Last year, the Australians flouted the idea of having the series in a neutral country after raising security concerns because of the political turmoil in Pakistan. But in spite of the gloomy scenario, Pakistani officials remain hopeful that the tour would go on according to schedule.

They believe that the recently-concluded home series against Zimbabwe would help their cause. The series that included a four-day match and five one-dayers went incident free. But they have made contingency plans by insuring the series against Australia. Last month, the PCB announced that it has insured all its FTP series amidst the prospect of touring teams, particularly Australia, backing out due to security concerns and political unrest. The Australia series has been insured for US$7.4 million.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 8th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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