Sydney, June 18 : In case Australia decides to opt out of the Champions Trophy, to be held in Pakistan from Sept 11-28, due to security reasons, it could run the risk of incurring a massive fine, up to two million dollars, and could also incur the wrath of the powerful Asian Cricket Council (ACC), said a report in the Daily Times.
Though, Aussies are yet to decide whether to participate in the upcoming tournament involving eight nations, speculations are rife that Cricket Australia (CA) might avoid touring Pakistan as the situation in the strife torn country had not much changed since early this year when the Aussies had cancelled their Pakistan tour in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's killing.
Moreover, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has advised its citizens on its website to reconsider the need to travel to Pakistan because of the "very high threat of terrorist attack, sectarian violence and the unpredictable security situation".
The DFAT website says it had received credible reports that terrorists may be planning attacks on government and military targets, including Australian interests. More than 400 people, mostly police and troops, have been killed in suicide attacks and shootings in the past year, the paper quoted the website as saying.
CA said it was committed to visiting Pakistan later this year to defend the title Ricky Ponting's side won in India in 2006. But, CA spokesman Peter Young said that their fundamental obligation was to "ensure the safety and security of its team and support staff".
Cricketers' Association chief executive Paul Marsh also said that the players' union was "concerned" about the security situation in the Islamic nation, but was still in the process of gathering information.
Australia have not toured Pakistan since 1998, having also had three Tests in 2002 relocated to Sri Lanka and Sharjah because of security fears.