PCB hopeful of ICC support
Though Australia's tour to Pakistan remains in grave doubt, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is confident that a third umpire from the International Cricket Council (ICC) would declare the country safe for playing.
PCB chief executive Shafqat Naghmi would not commit to a course of action if, as expected, Cricket Australia (CA) refuses to play in Pakistan, except to again rule out staging the series at a neutral venue.
Nor would he commit to asking the ICC to rule on the players' safety in the country, which is slated to host an Asian Cricket Council event in June and the Champions' Trophy in September.
Still, he was adamant such an assessment would be in Pakistan's favour. "We are confident because we have had two tours that went all right."
"All the countries have agreed to come here. If it comes to that, it would be nine countries versus one in the sense that other countries have been happy to tour Pakistan. It is only Australia that hasn't come here for many, many years now, " Naghmi was quoted as saying in The Age.
The national team has not played in the Islamic republic for a decade. In 2002 a series that was scheduled for Pakistan was shifted to Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.
C A is awaiting a report from security consultant Reg Dickason before informing Pakistan of its decision.
It is possible the Pakistan board will change its tune on a neutral venue, but for the moment it remains resolute.
"We believe this is a very dangerous policy, the neutral venue," Naghmi said. "It doesn't give the home crowd a chance to see the teams in action in their stadiums. It is not just a TV sport. A neutral venue does not suit anybody.
"If they think they cannot tour we will think about the steps to follow at that stage. We are bracing ourselves for all decisions. The worst is that they will not come. We will be disappointed, obviously," he said.