PCB to consider option of shifting home series to Australia

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Lahore, Dec 31 (UNI) Amid security concerns following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is hopeful that normalcy will be restored and Zimbabwe and Australia's tour of Pakistan will go ahead as scheduled.

Zimbabwe are scheduled to arrive in Karachi for a five-match One-day International series on January 14, while Australia's tour is to begin in March next year.

International Cricket Council's chief executive Malcom Speed had proposed the idea of transferring the series to Australia to save it from a cancellation.

Following Speed's suggestion, PCB officials are willing to consider the option of 'conditionally' allowing the series to be moved to Australia.

A PCB official was quoted as saying by 'The News', ''We can think about sending our team to Australia in March-April next year only if Australia agree to play the return series in Pakistan next December.'' Earlier, PCB made it clear that they would not shift the home series to any neutral venue.

''For us this option remains unacceptable,'' a PCB official said. He pointed out that Pakistan will lose both the home advantage and substantial revenues that are generated through a home series if it is shifted to a neutral venue.

PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said ''We are currently in a state of mourning and all cricket matters have taken a back seat.

''The situation in the country is tense but we hope that normalcy will be restored in the coming days,'' he added.

Ashraf sounded pretty sure that both the tours will go ahead as scheduled. ''We have received no official word from Australia or Zimbabwe and believe that both the tours of Pakistan are on.'' There have been concerns raised by the two teams about their security in the country. Australia's Andrew Symonds had said that he will not visit Pakistan, claiming it be a dangerous place.

UNI

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