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'Aussie cricketers feel safe in Pakistan'

world Updated: Sep 20, 2007 16:26 IST

IANS
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Unlike Australian hockey officials, the country's cricketers feel quite safe in Pakistan and are enjoying their stay here, says the coach of the visiting 'A' team.

"We have been in Pakistan for the past couple of weeks and never felt scared to be here," The News on Thursday quoted Daryl Foster as saying.

"You get a different impression of Pakistan but now that I have visited this country, I know it's all wrong," he added.

Foster is in Pakistan with Australia 'A' that lost a three-match one-day series against Pakistan 'A' 0-3 earlier this month but leads the two-match Test series 1-0. The second Test began in Lahore on Wednesday.

Cricket Australia decided to send the 'A' squad though the country's hockey officials decided to pull their team out of the Champions Trophy that was to be held in Lahore from December 1-9.

This was after an advisory from the Australian government that sees Pakistan as a danger zone for its citizens.

Australia's withdrawal from the elite six-nation tournament forced several other teams to follow suit, prompting the international hockey federation (FIH) to relocate the event.

Foster said he was surprised over the fuss.

"It is really surprising for me. I don't see any reason why any sports team shouldn't travel to Pakistan," he maintained.

Foster was also impressed with the manner in which Pakistani youngsters had played in the one-day series against his team.

"Some of the Pakistani young boys are really talented. The way they bat, bowl and field is marvellous. I'm sure some of them have a great future in international cricket," he felt.

Foster also praised Pakistan's performance against Australia and Sri Lanka in two Group F games of the ongoing Twenty20 World Championships in South Africa.

"Pakistan played superb cricket in both matches," he maintained.

"The way Pakistan are playing I won't be surprised if they went on to win the title," he maintained.