PCB restricts Australia tour to four venues

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to limit Australia's tour, which is under threat due to security concerns, to four venues, an official said on Wednesday.

The proposed March-April tour will take place in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad.

A senior PCB official said other venues, including Peshawar, Sheikhupura and Hyderabad, were not proposed due to organisational and financial aspects, while Rawalpindi stadium was being renovated.

"We want them to play at the big venues where matches can be organised smoothly and there is a bigger financial turnover," Zakir Khan, director of cricket operations said.

The above said venues were also ruled out because of security considerations, PCB sources revealed.

Australia are scheduled to play three tests, five one-day internationals and twenty20 match on their first tour of Pakistan for 10 years but there have been concerns over the trip due to escalating violence in the country, including the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in December.

(Australia) indicated they have an open mind on the tour and they very much want to play in Pakistan but would take a final decision after the elections on February 18," PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf told reporters.

"We reaffirmed and reassured Cricket Australia that Pakistan, as far as cricket is concerned, has a very safe and secure environment.

"We told them they can send their security team and based upon that their tour should go ahead as planned," he added.

The 2002 series between the two countries was played at neutral venues.


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