International programmes to fall apart if CA call-off Pak tour

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Sydney, Feb 13 (UNI) Virtually giving a warning to Cricket Australia (CA), Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said the international programmes could fall apart if the world champions did not fulfill their commitment to tour the sub-continent next month.

Australia is scheduled to tour Pakistan next month, but the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has raised security concerns over the tour.

PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf has made another attempt as he sent an e-mail to his Australian counterpart Creagh O'Connor, urging him to send a security delegation to Pakistan one week after general elections, due to be held on February 18.

''It would be very damaging to Pakistan cricket and it is not just Pakistan-specific, because no country in the world is safe from terrorist acts,'' Ashraf was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.

''If we start letting this dictate our sports events, then I am afraid the whole world of cricket could be turned upside down and it could have serious repercussions financially and [for] the very existence of the Future Tours Program.'' He added that scrapping Australia's tour of Pakistan could well put the sub-continent nation's series in Australia, scheduled for next year, in serious doubts.

''This is a premature question, but we will keep all our options open. We are still very hopeful that Cricket Australia will make the right decision,'' he added.

Ashraf said the board will stick to its earlier stance and maintained that the series will be played in Pakistan or will not be played at all.

''We are absolutely sure that the environment to host Australia for cricket in March and April is secure, and I say that with absolutely no hesitation and a clear conscience,'' Ashraf said.

''In terms of actual venues, there is no problem because we can be flexible about that if Cricket Australia has any reservations about a particular venue.'' Some of the Australian players could well earn huge amounts if the tour is called off giving them a great chance to play in the lucrative Indain Premier League.

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