PCB wants Aussies to play at Pak, not neutral venue

Published: Monday, May 20, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad: Pakistan's cricket boss on Monday said he would like to see world champions Australia play in Pakistan despite safety concerns voiced by the Australian Cricket Board and some players.

"Pakistan would lose the home advantage if the series against Australia is organised at a neutral venue and we would like to host Australia for both series," said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) director Lieutenant-General Tauqir Zia. "One can't do anything about suicide bombing. The incident in Karachi was one of those which was beyond anybody's control," he told reporters. "Players were not the target and these type of terrorist attacks can happen anywhere in the world," Zia said. "There are countries like India and Sri Lanka where there are security problems, but international teams visit there and play cricket," he said. "Cricket is my priority and I hope the Australians play in Pakistan instead of going to a neutral venue." Zia refused to comment on the Australian players' statements but said, "We would definitely see what we could do if they rule out playing in Karachi." Pakistan stands to lose a huge sum of money if Australia refuses to tour and may incur losses if the series is played at neutral venues, perhaps in the Middle East or North Africa. "PCB has sought compensation from the International Cricket Council over losses incurred last year," Zia said. Pakistan lost some $ 20 to 25 million last year after India twice refused to tour Pakistan and then the West Indies forced it to play a series in Sharjah.

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