Australia still uncertain about trip to Pakistan

Published: Saturday, August 16, 2008, 15:01 [IST]
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Melbourne: Cricket Australia apparently still has reservations about sending its contracted players to play the Champions Trophy in Pakistan next month.

Similar reservations have been expressed by New Zealand Cricket, which says that its players don''t want to go.

The tournament, supposed to be a showpiece of one-day cricket, featuring the top eight sides in the world, remains in limbo despite the ICC's position to the waiverers that the security measures they have implemented are sufficient to ensure the tournament could proceed.

According to The Age, the ICC security task force yesterday briefed Australian captain Ricky Ponting, vice-captain Michael Clarke, chief executive James Sutherland and players association chief Paul Marsh. They also heard a personal reflection from Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson on the reality of life in Pakistan.

But no decision has yet been made by Cricket Australia on whether to commit to sending the team, now that they have been briefed by the ICC they will make their decision in the next week and report to the ICC.

Irrespective of that decision Ponting knows that there will be players in the squad who will not tour. Matthew Hayden, Andrew Symonds and Stuart Clark have all raised grave concerns already.

ICC General Manager Dave Richardson briefed the Australians on the situation yesterday after speaking to the New Zealand team the day before. He said the Kiwis greeted the briefing with cynicism and animated opposition.

Richardson said the tournament could still be shifted to Sri Lanka if the situation in Pakistan deteriorated or if it appeared so many countries refused to attend, or the squads they sent were so weakened that the tournament became compromised.



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