Pakistan will host Asia Cup as scheduled: Ashraf

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Lahore, Jan 25 (UNI) Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has declined Sri Lanka's offer to host the Asia Cup due to security concerns in Pakistan following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said Pakistan would not back down as hosts of the Asia Cup, scheduled in June this year.

''There is no way we would withdraw as Asia Cup hosts, then I don't know why they (Sri Lanka) had to make such an offer,'' Ashraf was quoted as saying by The News.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's cricket chief Arjuna Ranatunga had proposed the PCB that the island nation is willing to act as a back-up venue for the tournament if both the sides agree on a neutral venue but left the final decision to Pakistan.

The Pakistan board had earlier refused Australia's offer to shift their home series against the Aussies which is scheduled in March and April.

Ashraf has expressed his confidence saying both the Asia Cup and Australia's tour of Pakistan will be played as scheduled in Pakistan.

A security delegation from Australia will arrive in Pakistan to assess the security in the country following which Cricket Australia will decide whether to go ahead with the tour or not.

UNI XC RAR MP RK1309

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