"When it comes to touring Pakistan, no team have been more narrow-minded than Australia, who, at the same time as showing unconditional love for India and the marketing opportunities it allows. They have not toured Pakistan since 1998. Bombs in Jaipur and London carry a more lucrative blast," Atherton wrote in his column for UK news web site Times Online.
The Champions Trophy was due to be held in Pakistan this month. It was postponed until October 2009 after Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies told the ICC they were not prepared to send a team.
Atherton was unfazed by the postponement of the Champions Trophy, but was concerned by the new-found power cricketers had over fixtures.
"Make no mistake, despite the red flag being waved by the administrators, this tournament was postponed because the players from South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia didn't fancy going. They didn't want to go to Pakistan and no amount of persuasion on behalf of the hosts and no amount of armor-plated security was going to change that," he writes.
Atherton was concerned the mindset of cricketers from outside the Asian bloc could lead to Pakistan becoming a relative cricketing pariah.
He said it was up to the players to ensure that didn't happen, particularly given "impotence of the ICC and the incompetence of many of the national governing bodies".