Charleworth defends Australia’s decision not to tour Pakistan

March 9th, 2009 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 9 (IANS) Hockey legend Ric Charlesworth says the attack in Lahore has vindicated Australian hockey’s decision not to tour Pakistan for most of the past decade.
Charlesworth also said that the only reason Cricket Australia (CA) kept sending lower tier cricket teams, such as Australia A, was to satisfy the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“We’ve now got to be concerned about the whole subcontinent. Pakistan is a rogue state, I understand, but there was the attack in Mumbai and, when I was in India, bombs were going off in Delhi, in Hyderabad,” Charlesworth was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Charlesworth, who is also a former first-class cricketer, now hockey team’s coach, lived in India last year as a technical adviser to Indian hockey, and said he ended his stint in the north Indian city of Chandigarh mainly because of the deteriorating security situation.

The Australian also raised questions on India’s ability to host next year’s Hockey World Cup and Commonwealth Games in such a volatile security situation.

Charlesworth said the hockey fraternity’s refusal to send its players to Pakistan had now been justified. He also said that any security assurances given by authorities could no longer be counted upon.

“We decided not to go to the Champions Trophy in 2004 because of security concerns and we were criticised for it,” he said.

“Cricket has still held ‘A’ tours there, but they did that because they had to keep cosy with the ICC. We were invited to a tournament in the north of India in January this year. We didn’t go for various reasons, including (the attack) in Mumbai. This event in Pakistan will now justify why we stopped going to the region at all.

“One of the reasons I left India was because I believed the security situation had deteriorated. My kids were going to school with armed escorts. That was a fact of life in Chandigarh, which is considered a liveable city.”

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