London, Aug 31 (UNI) Former England captain Mike Atherton has come down harshly on the current Australian team for boycotting the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan and described the World Champions as the most narrow-minded players.
The Champions Trophy, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan from September 12, had to be postponed until October next year as players from various teams expressed serious concerns over the security in the country which has seen many suicide attacks in last one year.
Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies told the ICC that they were not prepared to send their respective teams to Pakistan for the prestigious tournament.
However, Atherton said since Pakistan does not offer lucrative marketing opportunities, it became a victim at the hands of other foreign teams while the same players did not have any problems to tour India during the IPL Twenty20 tournament which also saw a series of bomb blasts in Rajasthan.
''When it comes to touring Pakistan, no team have been more narrow-minded than Australia, who, at the same time as showing unconditional love for India and the marketing opportunities it allows,'' Atherton wrote in his column for UK news web site Times Online.
''They have not toured Pakistan since 1998. Bombs in Jaipur and London carry a more lucrative blast,'' Atherton added.
He further wrote that the postponement of Champions Trophy might not affect the game to a great extent but the former England captain said the new-found power that the cricketers have over fixtures is a matter of concern.
''Make no mistake, despite the red flag being waved by the administrators, this tournament was postponed because the players from South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia didn't fancy going.
''They didn't want to go to Pakistan and no amount of persuasion on behalf of the hosts and no amount of armor-plated security was going to change that,'' he wrote.
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