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Pulling out of tours hurts sport: Misbah

The international Cricket Council may not agree with the notion of a divide between the Asian Bloc and its Western counterpart, but the cricketers don't necessarily share the view.

cricket Updated: Sep 14, 2008 23:18 IST
Arjun Sen

The international Cricket Council may not agree with the notion of a divide between the Asian Bloc and its Western counterpart, but the cricketers don't necessarily share the view.

Australia's refusal to tour Pakistan in the recent past, coupled with their hopes of hosting the Champions Trophy next year being quite bleak, has resulted in a major Test playing nation without any cricket at home in an entire calendar year.

And if that wasn't bad enough, then Australia's 'concerns' over touring India in the wake of the serial blasts in the Capital, has only widened an ever-growing rift.

"Pulling out of tours obviously hurts the sport. Sport should always be kept away from political issues," Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq, who is here for the Mohd. Nissar Trophy, said. "The whole of Pakistan was looking forward to the Champions Trophy as well as the Australian series. We were very hopeful of hosting the Champions Trophy, especially after the Asia Cup went ahead without a glitch. But sadly, that's not how some of the teams saw the situation."

"You play for the fans, and when a tour, which is eagerly awaited, is cancelled, it disappoints the fans." Misbah said that with teams already not touring Pakistan on grounds of security - Australia haven't toured there in the last decade — and now raising similar concerns over coming to India, it wasn't helping the sport and its popularity.

"Pakistan and India are two teams with the biggest fan following in the world, and if both were boycotted, international cricket would lose its charm."