Australian cricketers still refuse to tour Pakistan

July 27th, 2008 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, July 27 (IANS) Despite the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) stand to keep the Champions Trophy with Pakistan, Australian cricketers are adamant and have refused to tour the strife-torn country for the eight-nation tournament in September. The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) Thursday informed Cricket Australia (CA) that many of the star players of the world including Australians are not prepared to play in Pakistan, it was reported by The Age.

The report also said that Australian captain Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden are among those who have refused to tour Pakistan, but it is believed that ACA boss Paul Marsh has privately canvassed the views of all 30 members of the Champions Trophy squad.

The players are refusing to budge from their stand, it appears conceivable that even lesser-known squad members will make themselves unavailable if CA does not make favourable decision.

“Based on the independent information and advice we have received, we maintain that the risks are simply too great for the ACA to recommend that our players tour Pakistan at this time,” Marsh was quoted as saying by The Age.

“We would expect Cricket Australia to adopt the same position … If it (the Champions Trophy) continues in Pakistan at this volatile time, unfortunately many of the world’s best players won’t participate, which is not a good outcome for cricket,” he added.

CA chief executive James Sutherland said the board would not be pressured by players, but vowed to put their safety ahead of any other interests, which include the credibility of the tournament and sympathy for Pakistan’s position.

“We can’t compromise on the safety and security issue. It’s possible that could come to a head down the track but at the moment our single-minded focus is safety and security,” Sutherland said.

“We don’t feel any undue pressure to make a decision now. We’re being told that (ICC consultants) Nicholls Steyn and associates want a bit more time to get additional comfort as to the implementation of security plans and what have you, and we’ll take that in good faith. We’ll give them and the ICC and Pakistan and others an opportunity to work towards that end.”

Sutherland will not seek the views of individual players unless Cricket Australia decides to compete in the tournament.

“That’s not something that needs to be entertained at this stage,” he said.

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