Australian cricketers following wait and watch policy for tour of Pakistan

December 31st, 2007 - 3:00 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Dec.31 (ANI): Australian captain Ricky Ponting has taken a wait-and-see approach on the increasingly unlikely tour of Pakistan in March and April next year.
“It’s three months away. We have all seen how quickly things can change. It was only a few weeks ago that the place was under a state of emergency. That was lifted really quickly. Obviously, it’s a bit unstable at the moment,” The Australian quoted Ponting, as saying.
Andrew Symonds said: “I’m not interested in going into a situation that’s dangerous, where people are getting killed and hurt. There’s no point in that, in my opinion.
Writing in his Sunday newspaper column, Symonds further said: “At the end of the day, it’s a game of cricket. I take my cricket very seriously and I love playing for Australia, but I’m not going to put myself in a situation where I can be harmed. There’s no need, not for a game of cricket. That’s how I stand at the moment. I’ll be closely monitoring things and learning more about how their country is being run from the political side of things.
“There do seem to be a lot of bombs going off over there,” he said at the beginning of the Sri Lankan teams tour to Australia in October and November this year.
“The thing with us is we do have a lot of time to sit back and see how things progress in Pakistan,” Ponting said.
Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson said: “We’ve just got to trust what Cricket Australia are doing at the moment. They’re doing their best. They’ve got security going over to see what it’s like.”
CA continues to insist that no decision on the tour will be made until after a delegation from CA and the Australian Cricketers Association, along with private security consultants, examine safety and security during a visit in early February.
However, the tour appears doomed following warnings from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a major source of advice for CA on overseas tours.
Yesterday, the DFAT website warned of a very high threat of terrorist attack, sectarian violence and the unpredictable security situation.
Australia has not played a Test in Pakistan since 1998, with the three-Test tour in 2002 moved to Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates because of security issues.
Australia is due to play three Tests and five one-day internationals, but the schedule is yet to be finalised.
CA chief executive James Sutherland insisted it was too early to cancel, maintaining a final decision would not be made until at least when the pre-tour inspection by CA’s security delegation was carried out.
“Obviously I can’t say that (scrap the tour) because there is plenty of water to flow under the bridge in terms of working through the process. There are concerns. They are concerns we are aware of, but they are concerns that don’t change our position or our process. “Our process has always been to work through the February period, making all the necessary formal assessments we need to, taking all of the advice from the necessary relevant experts. Then we will draw some conclusions from there,” Sutherland said.
The International Cricket Council could slug CA with a fine of more than two million dollars if it pulls out of the tour without legitimate safety and security fears. (ANI)

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