Abu Dhabhi interested to host Oz-Pak series

Published: Thursday, January 3, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Dubai: Abu Dhabhi Cricket Council has expressed its willingness to host the Australia-Pakistan series after some of the Australian cricketers expressed concerns over touring Pakistan after Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

''In case the Australian team refuses to play in Pakistan, we are willing to host the series for Pakistan. So far we have not been approached but yes, we would love to help the two nations to play series here,'' According to ABCC President Dilawar Mani.
Mani also revealed the Board's plans to host a tournament in November. He said that even India had been invited to participate in the event.

''We are planning to host international matches in November for which certain teams (including India) are invited. A few teams have no commitments during this period and therefore we are negotiating with them,'' Mani told the Gulf News daily.
Incidentally, Australia and Pakistan had played their 2002 series in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo and Sharjah because of the then prevailing unrest in Pakistan, but the series was considered a failure because of poor crowds and a lack of general interest.
Ricky Ponting and his men, currently busy in their home Test series against India, are scheduled to play three Tests, five one-day Internationals and a Twenty20 game in Pakistan in mid-March.
However, serious doubts prevail over the tour as a majority of Australian cricketers are now reluctant to tour the country following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and postponement of the general elections.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting said on Tuesday he was open to the idea of playing Pakistan at a neutral venue. The weather in the UAE capital will also be pleasant enough to host the matches.

Playing in neutral venues will allay security concerns, and also, assuage the tension players face during the tour.
Abu Dhabi Cricket Council is one of the constituents of its parent body of Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and is engaged in conduct and promotion of the game in Abu Dhabi.

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