Volte face: PCB down plays Asian boycott threat
Published: Saturday, August 3, 2002, 23:59 [IST]
PCB threatens Asian boycott if ACB rejects Test tour
Karachi: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia on Saturday played down a threat of an Asian boycott if Australia refuses to tour Pakistan in October, saying he expected a positive response from his Australian counterparts. "We want the Australians to play in Pakistan and would pacify things in a fast action and feel there would be no need for a boycott," PCB chairman told reporters. Zia had caused a furore on Friday by threatening to lead an Asian boycott if Australia decided against touring Pakistan on fears of security. Australian newspaper 'The Age Saturday' reported that the Australian Cricket Board would seek urgent clarification from the PCB on the threat. "ACB chairman Bob Merrimen did call but due to faulty lines I couldn't talk to him but we would certainly want a quick solution and hope the tour will get the green light," Zia said. Australia is scheduled to play three Tests in Pakistan between October 1 to 24 but is reluctant to visit due to security fears in the wake of on-going war in Afghanistan, attacks on foreigners and tension on the India-Pakistan border."I had said that involving the International Cricket Council (ICC) and an Asian boycott remains one of the several options but we hope the situation doesn't go that far," Zia said. When asked if arch rival India would support a boycott, Zia replied in the affirmative. "The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) signed a resolution in April on India's suggestion that if any country outside Asia would not tour us then no Asian team would visit that country but we hope it's averted before that. "In my tenure as chairman we have received the best support from the ACB," he said "The situation is better than what we had in January when we had to shift our home series against the West Indies to Sharjah, now the president of Pakistan is giving assurances," Zia said. "Since the matter is between the two governments now we will have to take a final advice from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in case the Australians refuse to tour." Asked if Pakistan would scrap the volatile city of Karachi as one of the venues for the series, Zia said if the ACB demanded it, it could be talked about.