Islamabad: Former Australian player-turned coach Trevor Chappell on Wednesday said Pakistan was a safe venue as the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) mulled playing a Test series here later this year.
"I found Pakistan a safe place, but what I think and what the Australian Cricket Board does on its team's tour are two different things," Chappell said. "It's up to the ACB and they would take all things into account before making a final decision." The 49-year-old Chappell, younger brother of former captains Ian and Greg, is here to help Pakistan team and national pool members to improve their fielding. The fate of Australia's Test tour to Pakistan in October hangs in the balance, as security remains a key concern amid the US-led war against terror in neighbouring Afghanistan. "I even visited the Khyber Pass near the Pakistan-Afghan border and didn't feel unsafe," said Chappell. Leading Australian players Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Mark Waugh have said they won't tour Pakistan, but Test captain Steve Waugh left the decision to the ACB. A proposed tri-series, also involving Australia, next month has been shifted to Nairobi, Kenya. "Pakistan is capable of providing full security but it would be tough for players," said Chappell, who played five Tests and 20 one-day internationals for his country. He is more famous though for his 'under arm bowling' in a match against New Zealand in the 1980s. He also served as Bangladesh's coach from March 2001 to February this year before being sacked after he failed to change Bangladesh's fortunes. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said it would continue to press hard for the series to be played on home grounds. "We await a reply from Australia on the tour. President Pervez Musharraf has also talked to the Australian Prime Minister John Howard so things are going on," PCB director Chishty Mujahid said. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates are neutral options available if Australia decides against touring Pakistan. Pakistan's home series against the West Indies was played in Sharjah in February- March this year after the West Indies declined to tour Pakistan over security fears. Chappell added that he felt Pakistan was a favourite to win next year's World Cup in South Africa. "Pakistan has a very good combination and if it fields better and improve running between the wickets then it can win the World Cup," he said.
Pakistan faces Kenya in tri-series opener on Aug 29
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