Imran, Malik ready to phone Oz cricketers for tour of Pakistan

January 1st, 2008 - 2:56 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Jan.1 (ANI): Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik and former captain Imran Khan have personally offered to make phone calls from Australian cricketers who have concerns about touring Pakistan in March and April this year, and to convince them to go ahead with the series.
Speaking to the Herald from Sialkot, Malik said an Australian withdrawal would damage the game in Pakistan.
“I would like to speak to them personally and tell them that we will have good security for them in Pakistan. India has come here and there was a lot of talk then, but in the end there was no problem. It will be the same for Australia, The Herald quoted Malik, as saying.
“I do not want to comment about the politics. I am a sportsman, and not very good about talking about politics. But I would like to say that with what is happening in my country, it is getting under control, and it will get better. There is still more than two months [before the Australians' arrival], he added.
Imran Khan said rioting in Pakistan had already quelled, and normality should be restored to the nation in two to three weeks.
“I don’t think the cricketers have any threat at all. This is not going to last two months when the Australians appear. In the context of cricket, there will be nothing to worry about if the tour is in March. I don’t think the Australians should have any worries,” Imran Khan told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has previously stated it will not consider playing the series in a neutral venue, and the board’s chairman, Nasim Ashraf, assured the Herald this week that the Australian team would be afforded a level of security befitting a visiting head of state.
A member of the Australian side, speaking to the Herald on the condition of anonymity this week, revealed that a number of players held grave fears about touring Pakistan from March.
Malik, though, was confident the team would find no grounds to cancel the tour.
“We would love to see the Australian team in Pakistan,” he said. “It is a series that a lot of players have been looking forward to for a long time. The security in Pakistan is very good. I would be happy to speak to the Australian players if they would like to know what is happening here.” (ANI)

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