Karachi: Pakistani newspapers on Wednesday accused Australia's cricket team of handing a victory to "terrorists" after the world champions refused to tour the country due to security concerns.
"World champions or a bunch of cowards" said the headline on the sports page in The News, an English language daily, a day after Australia scrapped the tour in the wake of twin bomb blasts in the eastern city of Lahore.
Cricket Australia (CA) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) mutually announced the decision, saying they hoped the series that was due to start on March 29 could be rescheduled in the near future.
"It might sound like a cliche but by chickening out of what was a challenging assignment, the Aussies have handed the terrorists operating in this unfortunate country a major victory," the newspaper said.
The tour had been in doubt since the assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Dec last year. A wave of bombings since the Feb 18 elections sealed the fate of the tour.
The security and safety fears have been a talking point in Australia's dressing room with all-rounder Andrew Symonds and paceman Brett Lee showing reservations on touring a country where Australia have not played since 1998.
"The Australians, it is believed, made up their mind against touring Pakistan after the assassination of Bhutto but players like Symonds had been cribbing about the visit much before the tragedy," said the News.
"It is true that Pakistan is not the safest of places but these days bombs have a tendency to go off anywhere in the world. Australia haven't toured Pakistan in more than a decade. Almost all other teams have visited Pakistan."
The article also blamed the multi-million dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) for playing a part in putting off the tour.
Another English-language newspaper, The Nation, described the tour postponement as "a win for terrorism."
"People believe that scrapping the tour won't do any good to the game and would rather be a win-win situation for the terrorists," said the newspaper.