Australia FM dismisses IPL's role on decision over Pak tour

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Sydney, Mar 13 (UNI) Australia's Foreign Ministry has claimed that security was the only reason that led CA to postone it's team's tour of Pakistan and the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) had no role to play in it's decision.

Australia Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told reporters yesterday, ''I have seen suggestions that somehow the decision by Cricket Australia (CA) and the Pakistan Cricket Board is related to proposed Twenty20 games in India. I absolutely reject that suggestion.'' On Tuesday, Australia postponed it's tour of Pakistan and there were speculations that players wanted to participate in the IPL's Twenty 20 tournament scheduled to be held in India from April 18.

''What was most concerning for Cricket Australia was the safety, security and welfare of their players on any proposed tour.'' Smith said.

The Daily Telegraph reported that players were prepared to boycott the Pakistan series over security issues if CA insisted that the tour goes on.

Australian batsman Matthew Hayden said delaying the Pakistan tour was the right decision.

However, The Australian newspaper said CA is now looking to fill a six-week gap in its calendar created by the Pakistan tour delay and might consider holding a short one-day series.

The newspaper also quoted CA chief executive James Sutherland as saying that such a series was ''not impossible''.

But on Tuesday, Sutherland made it clear that the postponment of the Pakistan tour does not mean that players expect clearance for the IPL.

''There's a small window of opportunity there for players to perhaps play in IPL,'' he said.

''But at the same time, we've got this calendar issue where players won't have had much preparation leading into the West Indies tour.'' UNI XC RAR SSC1212

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