Aussies drop Morocco tour, cite security concerns
Published: Thursday, May 29, 2003, 20:31 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
'Weary Aussies have 2nd thoughts on Morocco series'
Sydney: Australia has cancelled a cricket tour of Morocco after players complained of overwork and safety fears following this month's terrorist bombings in the North African nation. The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) announced the decision after the 'Sydney Daily Telegraph' reported on Wednesday that the players, wearied by a constant playing schedule, were prepared to forfeit the A$ 30,000 ($ 19,800) they would each have earned from the One-day series scheduled for August and September. The ACB said it cancelled the tour due to "scheduling problems", but also noted that it had been "monitoring the security situation in Morocco and assessing player workload". "There were a number of issues to manage but in the end, it came down to a problem with dates," said Michael Brown, ACB's general manager for cricket operations. The Australians are currently playing in a One-day series in the West Indies and have been on the road virtually non-stop since November. They will have only a short break when they return home early next month before playing two Tests and three One- dayers at home with Bangladesh in July and August. The tour of Morocco would have involved Australia playing a maximum of five One-day Internationals including a final in a round-robin triangular tournament played against yet-to-be advised opponents at Tangiers. Tim May, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association, said the players wanted to rest in September before the start of a busy southern summer against the touring Indians and Zimbabweans. But he said they were also concerned about security issues following a wave of suicide bombings on May 16 that left 43 dead in Casablanca, Morocco's largest city. "Our concerns are twofold," said May. "The first is the volume of cricket. There is significant resistance from the players in terms of their workload. The second one is security in the wake of the most recent terrorist attacks, which certainly concern us." The ACB said it had informed the tournament organisers, the Sharjah-based Cricketer Benefit Fund Series (CBFS), that Australia remains interested in future series. "We have told CBFS we are still very interested in future visits, particularly if they can be developed to become a permanent part of the international cricket calendar," Brown said.