~~Pak will have to prove players will be safe on tour~~

Published: Friday, July 12, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney: The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) said on Friday it would like to go ahead with its tour of violence-wracked Pakistan in October but insisted Pakistani authorities had to first prove the players would be safe.

"The ACB's position on this is that we would like the tour to go ahead," an ACB spokesman said. "We are waiting on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to submit notification on its latest preferred option. "We haven't had any correspondence (with the PCB)." The spokesman insisted the ball was in Pakistan's court regarding the three-Test tour of Pakistan with no assurances received over the players' safety. "The ACB isn't in the drivers seat on this issue because it's a Pakistan series. There's no decision been made at this stage," an ACB spokesman. "We continue to receive advice from our (foreign affairs) experts in our day-to-day monitoring of the tour going ahead in Pakistan." The ACB is uneasy about touring in Pakistan because of widespread security fears after two bomb blasts in May and June left 26 people dead in the southern city of Karachi. ACB Chief Executive James Sutherland met with his PCB counterpart in London last week to discuss the matter but no resolution was reached. If Australia decides not to play in Pakistan, Bangladesh has been floated as a possible alternative venue. In Islamabad Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday he would personally intervene to pressure the Australian cricket team into touring his violence-wracked nation. Musharraf said he would contact the Australian government to ensure that the tour would go ahead as originally planned. "It's understandable that Pakistan wants the series to be played in Pakistan, for obvious reasons," the ACB spokesman said. A triangular One-day series originally scheduled to be played in Pakistan during August and September has had to be moved because of security concerns and will now probably be played in Kenya. In March the ACB cancelled a three Test and One-day series tour of Zimbabwe over security concerns.

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