Sydney, Jan.22 : The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has ruled out the possibility of its team taking on the Australians at a neutral venue, but is willing to play in Australia if the scheduled tour to Pakistan in March is scrapped because over security fears.
While the Pakistan Cricket Board would only consider the move in a "worst-case scenario", the revelation gives renewed hope that the series will be played regardless of the fallout of Pakistan's general election on February 18.
Cricket Australia is investigating whether players and officials would be safe to tour after the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto late last month, which has been followed by two deadly terrorist attacks in the past fortnight.
A senior Pakistan board member said if CA deemed the tour hazardous, they would discuss switching the schedule to play the series in Australia. A series at a neutral venue would not take place, the PCB official added.
"A neutral venue is out. It doesn't help anybody to play at a neutral venue, if it is played in a third country those spectators wouldn't be interested, and we would rather entertain Australian crowds than fans from other countries," he told the paper.
Australia are slated to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 game against Pakistan and, if CA agrees to shifting the tour, those matches would likely need to be shared around Test venues that already have football commitments.
The Australian cricket team is due in Pakistan three weeks after the February 18 election.
Story first published: Tuesday, January 22, 2008, 12:28 [IST]
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