Australia, NZ say will not jeopardize their players in Pakistan

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Karachi, Aug.17 : Officials of Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket have reportedly conveyed to the International Cricket Council that while are supportive of Pakistan's right to host the Champions Trophy, they may be constrained not to send their teams to play in conditions which are deemed unsafe and unstable by security and intelligence agencies.

The Dawn quoted Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young and New Zealand Players Association Chief Executive Heath Mills as saying: "We want to support the PCB particularly. World cricket needs Pakistan cricket to be strong so we need to support them. But at the moment, only on this point of time with a lot of happening in Pakistan, we have a lot of concerns."

"Ultimately, it's the ICC's and the Board's decision to make what they want to do. We'll have to wait and see what reports does the task force give back to the ICC next week," he added.

"Another key difference this time is that there will be eight teams on the ground, it's a lot, lot harder to strengthen out security measures with so many teams going to different practice venues, ground, areas. That is principally a concern of ours and we would want to see that demonstrated. That is a major difference for sure for us," Mills said.

Young said Australia was very keen to visit Pakistan and that the directors of CA have very strong views that there was a need for cricket in Pakistan to prosper as a world sport.

"Although we haven't been there as for 12 years we know that cricket is a sport and we shouldn't be subjecting the players to risk, we can't go anywhere if the security advice says it's not safe and at the moment we are not quite ready to make a decision. We would certainly be making a recommendation to our board of directors sometimes next week," he said.

Both the boards and their senior players were briefed by the ICC task force in the last 48 hours by a delegation that included Dave Richardson, ICC Cricket operations Manager and Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson.

"Dave Richardson and his security advisors talked about the commitments made by the PCB to protect the Aussies and other cricketing teams during CT.

Young and Mills said that Pakistan cricket coach Geoff Lawson had spoken well about living in Pakistan and how comfortable he was there.

Young said CA is taking advice from a lot of sources. "We have the ICC, our own security company and we have access to other security advice and intelligence. What we'll be doing is that we will be adding the ICC's advice to that store of information and make a recommendation to our board of directors. I will expect that will happen sometimes later this week," he said.

ANI

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