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Akram concerned about Pak security

cricket Updated: Dec 28, 2007 11:35 IST

AP
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Former Pakistan cricket captain Wasim Akram says the assassination of Benazir Bhutto will discourage teams from touring the country.

Akram, who played 104 tests from 1985-2002, including 25 as captain, said he was shocked and upset by the death of the Pakistan opposition leader.

Bhutto died Thursday when an attacker shot her and then blew himself up as she left a political rally in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital.

Pakistan officials fear Bhutto's death could cause an outbreak of more violence across the country, and the crisis has now cast serious doubt over whether Cricket Australia's scheduled tour in March will go ahead.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Friday the government would be watching developments closely.

Although he said a decision on the tour would be left to Cricket Australia.

"Our first and foremost concern, like Cricket Australia's, is the safety and security of the Australian cricket team and we will be providing, through the government, every source of information necessary for Cricket Australia to be making an informed judgment about the future of that particular tour," Rudd said. Akram believed visiting sporting sides would be safe in Pakistan, but admitted he feared the assassination would have major implications for cricket in the country, as opposition sides would be discouraged from touring.

"It will in general make a big impact on Pakistan cricket because teams might not tour there," Akram said at the first cricket test between Australia and India, where is a television commentator.

"But we don't know yet what's going to happen now. I've been sitting in Australia and of course I'm worried about every Pakistani back home, that they are safe and sound."

Akram was optimistic the situation would ease in his homeland over the next two weeks, and said the scheduled general elections would determine whether it was safe for overseas sporting teams to visit.

"If I had to go straight away probably I'd wait until the elections and then after that everything would definitely settle down after the 8th of January, that's for sure," he said. "I'm very optimistic."