Lawson urges western cricket nations to vist Pak for CT

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Lahore, Jul 24 (UNI) Coach Geoff Lawson has warned that western cricket nations like Australia, England and New Zealand could be marginalised if they refuse to visit Pakistan for the Champions Trophy.

''Pakistan is a major cricket-playing country. It's the eighth-biggest country in the world and it plays our game, and yet people are going to ignore it? That's an astonishing thing. The big money in the game is in India, and Pakistan is right next door,'' Lawson said. ''Maybe the Australias and New Zealands and Englands of the world will be marginalised, because all the other nations will be happy to come. That is one thing those countries have to consider fairly carefully.'' ''For certain countries it may well be (a no-go zone) Other countries are very happy to play here,'' he added.

Since taking over as coach last year, Lawson has consistently maintained it is safe to play cricket in Pakistan, and yesterday the former Australian fast bowler said he could not envisage the security situation, or perceptions of Pakistan in the western media, changing soon.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will tonight vote on whether to move the prestigious tournament out of Pakistan.

Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand are apprehensive about visiting the country while Asian countries, including India are supporting Pakistan alongwith the West Indies.

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