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Thatscricket - News - Cricket: Akram urges Aussies, Windies to play in Pak

Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2001, 0:00 [IST]
 
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Karachi: Pakistan's veteran fast bowler Wasim Akram on Wednesday urged the West Indies and Australia to wait before refusing to play Test cricket in Pakistan because of the US air strikes on Afghanistan.[an error occurred while processing this directive]"It's perturbing that there are attacks on our neighbours but the situation is not as worrying as people have made it," Akram said."I would appeal to the West Indies and Australian cricket officials that they must not take premature decisions on playing in Pakistan. I hope this war ends early and Pakistan cricket is not affected by it because everyone here hates war and loves cricket," Akram said.Sport in Pakistan has been badly hit by the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and the reprisal air raids in neighbouring Pakistan.New Zealand cancelled a tour of Pakistan last month, the Pakistan Open squash was postponed and the Champions Trophy field hockey was shifted from Lahore to the Dutch city of Rotterdam.The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has lost tens of millions of Dollars because of the loss of revenue from home series. "I hope the situation will improve and we will definitely be able to hold cricket series in Pakistan," Akram, who was to fly to Hong Kong on Wednesday night to take part in Super Sixes event with the Pakistan team, led by Rashid Latif, said."They must send their officials first to check security in Pakistan. Had the New Zealanders arrived here they would have easily completed their series," he said.West Indies is due in Pakistan in late January to play three Tests and three One-day Internationals. Pakistan is scheduled to host Australia in September 2002.The West Indies Board is pressing hard to play Pakistan on neutral territory after the International Cricket Council (ICC) in October approved the use of third countries for series affected by unrest.Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has expressed doubts that Australia would play in Pakistan. "Every team likes to play before its home crowd but if the situation warrants then we can also play on neutral grounds," he said.Morocco, Sharjah and the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, are the contenders to stage Pakistan's internationals. Morocco has built a new ground with international facilities.Akram, part of the Pakistan side which won the Champions Trophy in Sharjah last weekend, said he was elated over his performance. "I had the full backing of the captain Waqar Younis and coach Mudassar Nazar and I enjoyed bowling in Sharjah," he said.Akram tipped Pakistan to win the Hong Kong Super Sixes. "We have a very strong team and we won there last time so hopefully we will defend our title."Australia, England, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka are taking part in the event on November 10 and 11.All-rounders Azhar Mahmood, Abdur Razzaq, Imran Nazir, Naveedul Hassan, Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi are also in the Pakistan squad.

AFP
Copyright AFP 2001

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