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England could host Pak-Aus Tests

cricket Updated: Mar 04, 2009 12:15 IST
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England could be the possible neutral venue for staging the Test cricket series involving Australia against Pakistan, where security concerns were increasing by the day.

Cricket Australia Spokesman Peter Young said the Pakistan Cricket Board had initiated the discussions about the Test matches going ahead in England several weeks before Tuesday's terror attack on Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

"Pakistan has accepted for some time that we aren't able to visit because of the safety and security concerns in that nation," Young said.

"Pakistan has started the discussion about playing three Test matches at neutral venues in England in 2010," he was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press.

"It's a work in progress, the PCB is responsible for coming up with the arrangements, but in principle we've been comfortable and (we're) talking with them. But it is very early days," he added.

Young said England had a strong expatriate Pakistan population which might be interested in the cricket series.

"One of the downsides to neutral venues is quite often you don't get people turning up at the stadium - because wherever you are, the locals don't have a home-team interest," he said. "But part of the theory is that there are a significant number of expatriate Pakistanis who, with appropriate marketing, might be encouraged to attend these games. Pakistan would still have kind-of a de facto home crowd advantage," Young said.

Britain's sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has also said in the wake of the Lahore attack that England could act as a temporary home for the Pakistan team, the AAP reported.

Pakistan is due to "host" Australia for five one dayers and a Twenty20 from late next month in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.