Australian team's tour of Pakistan close to cancellation

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Sydney, Feb.18 : The Australian cricket team's tour of Pakistan is almost certainly off despite the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) assurances of safety.

Cricket Australia seems certain to reject the tour regardless of the outcome of the election in Pakistan, the Sydney Morning Herald said.

The PCB is reported to have gone to every length possible to convince Cricket Australia (CA) that their players will be safe, but the latter appears to be following the advice of its own security experts on the issue.

The International Cricket Council may have to step in and make a call on behalf of both countries, which could increase the likelihood of the series being played at a neutral venue, despite Pakistan's objections.

A suicide bombing at an election campaign office in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province that killed 47 and left more than 100 injured has been taken note of by Cricket Australia.

Meanwhile, reports from Colombo say that the PCB has approached Sri Lanka Cricket to consider sending its team to Pakistan in the event of Australia pulling out.

A three-member PCB delegation has visited Colombo for this purpose, The Nation said.

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