Cricket Australia is heading towards a major crisis with its leading cricketers set to boycott the Champions Trophy in Pakistan owing to security apprehensions, according to a media report in Melbourne on Thursday. <b1>
The Sydney Morning Herald claimed most of the leading Australian cricketers would pull out of the event if the International Cricket Council is adamant to host the elite tournament, second only to World Cup in stature, in the trouble-torn country.
"It is going to come down to the individual's decision," an anonymous member of the Australian team, currently touring West Indies, told the daily.
"We have talked about it, and there are some guys who will go if security advice says it's OK. But there are others who have said they won't go, regardless. At this stage, we are waiting to hear more," he added.
Earlier this year, all-rounder Andrew Symonds did not hide his reluctance to tour Pakistan and Australia had no other option but to defer the full series to 2009-10 after consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Though CA is aware of the players' mood, the board would prefer its player to play in Champions Trophy even though it looks a distant possibility now.
Incidentally, players from New Zealand, England and South Africa too are apprehensive about touring Pakistan.
Though the ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board have been asserting that security would not be an issue for the players, the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) is not convinced yet and would conduct a recce of its own before giving thumbs-up to the event.