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Border tensions may force PCB to cancel Aussie tour

Published: Sunday, May 26, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Karachi: Mounting border tensions between India and Pakistan may force Pakistan to cancel Australia's Test and One-day series in August, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Sunday.

"If the situation at the border persists we would not host Australia, but it's still early to say anything," PCB chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia said. "We are confident that the tension would ease but if the current crisis prolongs then the PCB would not like to risk the security of our guests," he added. "(But) the PCB is confident that tension will ease and we still have two months to go, and if the situation is normalised then we are committed to hosting cricket." Pakistan is scheduled to host Australia and New Zealand for a One-day tri-series in August and then Australia for a three-match Test series. Both tours have been thrown into doubt by the mounting fear of war between the nuclear-capable rivals, as well as a suicide bomb blast in Karachi on May 8 that killed 14 people including 11 French nationals. The blast outside a hotel where the Pakistan and New Zealand teams were staying forced the Kiwis to cut short their tour and fly home. The United States and Britain have recalled all non-essential diplomatic staff in Pakistan and cautioned their citizens living and working here to observe stringent safety measures. The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) has raised concerns over the two upcoming tours to Pakistan and hinted at an alternative proposal to play at neutral venues like Sharjah or Morocco. A handful of Australia's Test stars said two weeks ago they would refuse to tour Pakistan even if the ACB decided it was safe to go. Captain Steve Waugh and star bowlers Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne said they believed it was too dangerous to tour. Warne said the ACB had made the right decisions in the past in cancelling the recent tour of Zimbabwe and forfeiting a 1996 World Cup match in Colombo because of Sri Lanka's civil war against the Tamil Tigers. ACB chief executive James Sutherland has said the ACB would closely monitor the situation in Pakistan. He could not be contacted for comment on Sunday.

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