Aussies set to boycott Champions Trophy: Report
Cricket Australia is heading towards a major crisis with its leading cricketers set to boycott the Champions Trophy in Pakistan owing to security apprehensions, according to a media report here on Thursday.
The Sydney Morning Herald claimed most of the leading Australian cricketers would pull out of the event if the International Cricket Council is adamant to host the elite tournament, second only to World Cup in stature, in the trouble-torn country.
“It is going to come down to the individual’s decision,” an anonymous member of the Australian team, currently touring the West Indies, told the daily.
“We have talked about it, and there are some guys who will go if security advice says it's OK. But there are others who have said they won't go, regardless. At this stage, we are waiting to hear more,” he added.
Earlier this year, all-rounder Andrew Symonds did not hide his reluctance to tour Pakistan and Australia had no other option but to defer the full series to 2009-10 after consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Though CA is aware of the players' mood, the board would prefer its players to play in the Champions Trophy even though it looks a distant possibility now.
Though the ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board have been asserting that security would not be an issue for the players, the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) is not convinced yet and would conduct a recce of its own before giving thumbs-up to the event.
But Ponting wants to play
Skipper Ricky Ponting though said his side was already focused on retaining the trophy. “The Champions Trophy is the number two one-day tournament on the calendar behind the ICC World Cup and it is for this reason that our players will ensure they are at the peak of their form to take on the world’s best in this format of the game.
“We are particularly focused on performing well this year in the Champions Trophy in Pakistan and I am excited by the prospect of some new Australian players having the opportunity to be tested against the world's best 50-over players,” Ponting said.
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