Cricket Australia plans security inspection of Pakistan

February 18th, 2008 - 1:13 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, Feb 18 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) is planning a pre-tour safety and security inspection next week to Pakistan despite its players refusing to visit the violence-hit country, the media said Monday. According to a report in The Australian, there would be a player revolt if CA agreed to the six-week tour from mid-March but the board is still loath to announce its players will not participate.

CA chairman Creagh O’Connor has written a letter to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) raising Australia’s concerns. However, officially at least, a decision is yet to be made on the tour.

PCB officials are making last-ditch efforts to lobby Australia to tour during a series of International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings of the chief executives from Test playing countries in Kuala Lumpur.

“We are aware that they are finding excuses to back out and we are studying all possible options,” a PCB official was quoted as saying.

Keen to ensure it will not incur the wrath of the ICC and fines of more than $2 million for failing to honour its commitment under the future tours programme, CA must have a credible, independent assessment stating it is not safe to travel in Pakistan.

That would not appear difficult given the string of suicide bombings, which continue to rock the country. A suicide car bomb killed 37 and injured 90 people outside a candidate’s office in the northwest of Pakistan Saturday.

CA’s position is complicated by the fact Zimbabwe successfully completed a five-match one-day series in Pakistan without incident this month.

Should Australia and Pakistan disagree over the safety of the tour then the ICC will appoint independent experts to assess whether it is safe to play the scheduled three Tests, five one-day matches and Twenty20 game.

It appears the ICC would have no choice but to recommend that Australia not tour after the world governing body moved an ICC women’s World Cup qualifying tournament from Pakistan to South Africa last month.

“The decision was arrived at following independent security reports and extensive discussions by ICC management and the ICC women’s committee,” the ICC said at the time.

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