Australia desperately hopes to tour Pakistan in April 2009

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Sydney, Aus 25 (UNI) Despite the unstable security scenario in Pakistan which forced the ICC to postpone the Champions Trophy until October 2009, Cricket Australia (CA) is hoping to tour the strife-torn country in April next year.

''Political turmoil in Pakistan will ease by the time we tour Pakistan in 2009, which would be our first since 1998,'' CA spokesman Peter Young said today.

''What we're all hoping now is the situation in Pakistan allows us to go there next year,'' Young said. ''We're passionately keen to be able to do that.'' ''The former president (Musharraf) has now resigned and we're all hoping the civil situation returns to order,'' he added. ''We haven't had a senior Australian team in Pakistan for a long time.'' The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced yesterday that the Champions Trophy would be postponed from next month until October, 2009. However, the decision came after possible boycott by teams like Australia, the defending champions, New Zealand, England and South Africa.

Young further said their scheduled tour to the South Asian country will depend on the advice from security experts.

''If the expert advice says it's safe, we go and we're happy to recommend to players that we go,'' he said. ''If they say us it's not safe then we don't go and our track record speaks for itself on that front.'' The safety and security issues existed in almost every country in the world that Australia played cricket, with the exception of New Zealand, Young added.

''Professional risk assessment says the risk is acceptable in some of those places. Unfortunately at the moment, it's not acceptable in Pakistan.'' Acting Australia captain Michael Clarke has welcomed the ICC's decision to postponed the Champions Trophy. ''It's a great result for all the players just to find out whether we're going or not going,'' Clarke said today. ''I think all the guys are happy now we know now the that ICC, Cricket Australia and Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) would make a decision and they have finally done that.'' Earlier this year, Australia was scheduled to travel to Pakistan but that tour was postponed because of civil unrest due to assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. They will travel the strife-torn country for the five One-day internationals and a Twenty20 match in April, before returning in 2010 for a three-Test series.

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