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Hayden uneasy over Pakistan security for Trophy

cricket Updated: Jul 21, 2008 17:13 IST

AFP
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Senior Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden said Monday he wants to play in September's Champions Trophy, but not if his safety is compromised in host nation Pakistan.

The year's biggest one-day tournament, featuring the top eight Test nations, is due to be held from September 11 to 28, but Australia, England and New Zealand have raised fears about playing in Pakistan.

International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat said Monday the ICC would soon decide whether to go ahead with the tournament in Pakistan, or move it elsewhere.

Hayden said he is backing Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association to make the correct call -- in the same manner they did when they opted against touring Pakistan in March-April this year.

"It's certainly one I want to be involved in if my safety is not compromised," Hayden told reporters.

"I think the process is an important one in this.

"Like the last time we went there, we had a full security briefing independent of all parties and we at that point decided it wasn't safe to travel there and Cricket Australia and the ACA supported the players on that so the tour didn't proceed."

But Hayden said he hoped it wouldn't come to that, adding: "It's going to be disappointing if the tournament gets wiped all together."

Fears about security in Pakistan were raised earlier this month when a suicide bomb blast in the capital Islamabad killed 19 people. The next day, a series of small bombings rocked the port city of Karachi.

Sri Lanka is a stand-by venue if Pakistan is considered unsafe, but the ongoing civil war between government forces and Tamil separatist rebels has raised concerns as well.

The 36-year-old Hayden missed the entire recent West Indies tour with an Achilles problem, and said he is not sure to be ready for Australia's three one-dayers against Bangladesh in Darwin from August 30 to September 6.

Hayden hinted he would be prepared to miss the Darwin series in order to make the Champions Trophy, but said: "Both of those tournaments are a target for me. I would have to say I am on track for both of those tournaments."