PCB considers to shift home series to Australia

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Melbourne, Jan 22 (UNI) The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is finally considering to shift Australia's tour of Pakistan scheduled to start in March this year to Australia if the players' safety can not be guaranteed in Pakistan.

However, PCB is still keen to host the series as scheduled but Cricket Australia will send a security delegation team to assess the conditions in the country next month and if it is not satisfied with the security arrangements, PCB is ready to relocate the tour Down Under.

An unnamed Pakistan Board official was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald, ''It (shifting the series) is only the last resort, only a worst-case scenario, but if something happens and Australia can't come, then the board will discuss playing the series in Australia.'' Australia is scheduled to host Pakistan in November next year for a home series. But if the venue for Australia's tour of Pakistan in March this year is shifted Down Under that would mean the next year's series between Pakistan and Australia will be played in Pakistan.

''If worst comes to worst, then perhaps [playing in Australia] is a better idea, as long as we swap. That would be an acceptable scenario.

''I would like the Pakistani spectators to watch Australia in their own stadiums, now or next year. But the first priority is that Australia comes here,'' he said.

If the source is to be believed the possibility of playing the series on neutral grounds is no where in the picture.

''A neutral venue is out. It doesn't help anybody to play at a neutral venue, if it is played in a third country those spectators wouldn't be interested, and we would rather entertain Australian crowds than fans from other countries,'' he added.

Even for Australia to host a cricket series in such a short notice would not be easy as most of the major venues are packed with rugby and Australian rules football matches from late March onwards.

UNI XC RAR BST1042

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