Thursday, February 14, 2008

Players want Pakistan tour cancelled - report

Cricket Australia says it is aware of the players' concerns over visiting Pakistan...

The chances of Australia going to Pakistan next month grow slimmer by the day with the Australian reporting senior players would pull out of the trip if it goes ahead. The visit is dependent on a security inspection, which is currently due to occur after the country's elections on Monday, but Cricket Australia said in a letter to the Pakistan Cricket Board it has been advised not to travel.

"We are aware of the significant concerns that the players have and they are concerns we share," the Cricket Australia public affairs manager Peter Young told the Australian. "We're still moving through a process and we have a way to go before that process is finalised."

The paper reported "most of Australia's senior players have made it privately clear they would pull out of any visit". The violent situation in Pakistan may force the security visit to be cancelled, but Young said no decision had been made, believing there were "significant obstacles" which need to be worked through. "But that's not to say the obstacles are locked doors," Young said.

Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan board chairman, raised suggestions of a boycott for the return 2009 tour if Australia did not take part in next month's series. "We're obviously keen to see them here and the circumstances of them visiting here have to be considered in isolation at that time," Young said. "The particular circumstances this time include significant concerns about safety and security that we just can't ignore."