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Australia reserves decision on Champions Trophy

Published: Wednesday, August 20, 2008, 17:30 [IST]
 
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MELBOURNE :
As the International Cricket Council contemplated their next move, Cricket Australia remained non-committal about the defending champions attending next month's Champions Trophy in Pakistan.

The ICC's attempts to address Australian concerns over safety and security appeared to have failed, with media reports on Wednesday suggesting Australian players would not be willing to play in the troubled country.

The ICC was due to discuss the tournament, which is scheduled for September 12-28, at a meeting in Dubai on Wednesday, with a move to Sri Lanka one possible outcome.

CA spokesman Peter Young said they were keenly awaiting the outcome of the meeting.

"We have considerable reservations, as do our players and the Australian Cricketers' Association," Young told Australian Associated Press on Wednesday.

"The ICC understands the considerable reservations that we, New Zealand, England, South Africa and perhaps some others hold.

"We're hoping that the ICC will give us some advice ... some sort of certainty within the next 24 hours about what the next step in this process is.

"Hopefully that will allow greater clarity about what's going on and we can all get on with making the decisions that we need to make."

The government is providing Cricket Australia with up to date threat assessments on the situation in Pakistan, as it did before the Test tour earlier this year that was ultimately postponed.

Young said CA would not be prepared to risk the safety of players.

"We will not put them in a situation if we get specialist advice that tells us that it's not safe to do that," he said.

"The security advice does not give us any great encouragement at the moment."

Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Paul Marsh said earlier on Wednesday that his recommendation was that Australian players not tour.

Pakistan is fighting Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in its northwestern tribal regions bordering Afghanistan and a string of deadly suicide bomb attacks over the past year have killed more than 1,000 people.

Tensions have been further heightened by this week's resignation of president Pervez Musharraf.

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