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No chance of switching series: PCB

cricket Updated: Jan 22, 2008 21:23 IST
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Close on the heels of reports that Pakistan may prefer to play Australia Down Under rather than scrap the series scheduled for March-April, a PCB official today ruled out any chance of switching series due to security concerns.

"No, there is no such proposal under consideration to play our series this year in Australia and then have them come to Pakistan when we are scheduled to tour there," said Zakir Khan, PCB's Director cricket operations.

Australian media has reported that Pakistan would be willing to play in Australia if the scheduled tour to the sub-continent nation in March-April is scrapped due to security fears.

A report in the 'Age' newspaper said the Pakistan board would only consider the move in a "worst-case scenario" but quoted an official as saying that if Cricket Australia deemed the tour hazardous, the PCB would discuss switching the schedule to play the series in Australia and then have Ricky Ponting's side visit in November next year when Pakistan is supposed to travel to Australia.

"We don't tour Australia until winter of 2009 so how can we think about switching tours. How can we agree to having our home series played in Australia," Khan said.

He said the PCB was firm that it would not like to play the coming series at a neutral venue.

"We feel the Australians would be safe in Pakistan on their tour and they would be provided the same top level security which has been given to other teams in recent past and who have gone home after incident-free tours," he noted.

Another PCB official said it was clear that some sections of the Australian media were coming up with all sorts of theories and ideas.

"It is all in the Australian media but nothing on these lines has been discussed with Cricket Australia," Shafqat Naghmi, Chief Operating Officer of the Board, said.

"I think a lot of things are pre-emptive. Cricket Australia have conveyed to us they are keen to fulfill their commitment and a lot of time is left before the series. They will send a delegation after elections and than we will finalise the itinerary."

Naghmi said as far as Pakistan was concerned, it had hosted England, India, South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka in the last few years without any problems and can hold the Australian series on schedule.

Australia is slated to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 game in Pakistan.