Thatscricket - News - Musharraf to pressurise Aussies to play in Pak
Published: Thursday, July 11, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Islamabad: Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday he would personally intervene to pressure the Australian cricket team into touring this violence-wracked nation.Australia's three-Test series in Pakistan slated for October is in danger of being shifted to another country, possibly Bangladesh, because of widespread security fears.But Musharraf, while declaring his national team was the best in the world, said he would contact the Australian government to ensure that the tour would go ahead as originally planned in Pakistan."There will definitely be a government (in Islamabad) to convince the Australians to tour Pakistan," Musharraf told the team during a reception to celebrate its One-day series win last month in Australia.Foreign teams have raised fears for their safety after two bomb blasts in May and June left 26 people dead in Karachi. The first blast was outside the hotel where the New Zealand team was staying and the attack forced the Kiwis to cut short their tour by one Test.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Pakistan already seems to have accepted it has lost home rights for a tri-series One-day tournament between Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand slated for August-September. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said this week it was awaiting the green light from Australia and New Zealand to shift the series to Kenya. Musharraf declared his commitment to attracting the Australians to Pakistan while speaking to all 13 members of the Pakistan team at an hour-long reception held to celebrate its 2-1 win over in Australia in the Super Challenge One-day series last month.Musharaf, who is also the patron of the PCB, said each team member and official would receive half a million rupees ($ 8,300) for their efforts in Australia and boasted the national team was now top of the world."After you (team) have beaten Australia, I have no doubt you can beat any team in the world and win next year's World Cup for the nation," he said. "The whole nation watches you all the time and my mother is also a keen follower of cricket matches."Pakistan finished runners-up to Australia in the last World Cup held in England in 1999 and will start the eighth World Cup in South Africa next February-March as one of the favourites.
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