Australia unlikely to tour Pakistan, says PCB
Australia are unlikely to tour Pakistan to play a five-match one-day series and a Twenty20 game because of lingering fears over security in the troubled nation, a top official said on Wednesday.cricket Updated: Feb 04, 2009 13:42 IST
Australia are unlikely to tour Pakistan to play a five-match one-day series and a Twenty20 game because of lingering fears over security in the troubled nation, a top official said on Wednesday.
The latest blow to Pakistan cricket follows a decision by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday to relocate the 2009 Champions Trophy away from the country.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt told AFP by telephone that the Australia series was unlikely to take place in Pakistan in April after a meeting with Cricket Australia officials in Melbourne.
"It (the series) in unlikely to be played in Pakistan," Butt said. "We are discussing dates and venues, which I will let the media know when I return on Friday," he said.
Australia have not toured Pakistan since 1998, concerned about players' safety in a nation beset by continuing militant violence.
They postponed a tour of the country in March last year after a spate of suicide bombings but agreed to reschedule the tour into two separate visits -- a one-day series in 2009 and Tests in 2010.
Australia earlier refused to tour Pakistan in 2002 in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. Matches were instead played in Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In anticipation of Australia's latest refusal, the PCB had offered various venues to Australia -- the UAE, Malaysia, Ireland and England.
Sources close to the board said Pakistan would likely play three one-day matches in Abu Dhabi and two one-dayers and the Twenty20 match in Dubai.
The games will be played after Australia finish their tour of South Africa in mid-April.
Following a meeting of the ICC board in Perth, Australia, on Sunday, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the "safety and security environment" in Pakistan had forced a relocation of the eight-nation Champions Trophy.
The second-biggest one-day tournament in world cricket behind the World Cup, the Champions Trophy had already been delayed 12 months to September this year because of concerns over player safety.
More than 1,500 people have been killed in militant attacks across Pakistan in the past 19 months and more than 1,500 troops have been killed at the hands of extremists since 2002, after Islamabad joined the US-led "war on terror."