Sydney, Sep 22 : Australian captain Ricky Ponting has said that the expert security advice his team received halted what could have been a disastrous tour of Pakistan.
A suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives on Saturday in Islamabad, killing about 60 people and injuring 200 at the Marriott Hotel.
It has been described as one of the biggest terrorist attacks in Pakistan's history, and there were fears more dead would be found inside the hotel, a popular gathering place for politicians, foreigners and the Pakistan elite.
"It's devastating for the people involved in Pakistan. I mean, we'd be talking hypothetically, if us being in the hotel or England or South Africa being in the hotel ... I think what we've done, and what we've done right the way through, is that we just have to listen to the advice from the experts and our Department of Foreign Affairs," Ponting said.
"Security advice right the way through has been (that) they have not been happy for us to tour Pakistan, so obviously nothing has changed right now," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Ponting, as saying.
"It is an absolute shame that things like this continue to happen in Pakistan, because, believe it or not, as players you want to travel all around the world and play in all the conditions around the world, but unfortunately right at this moment there's no way we could be touring Pakistan," he added.
Australia were due to play in Pakistan this week but the Champions Trophy was postponed after several countries, including Australia and South Africa, refused to travel there.
Commenting on the bombings in Pakistan, Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young said: "Our reaction is that it's terribly sad and tragic news. Australian cricket has got a lot of friends in Pakistan and I think everyone at the national level is really sorry to hear this sort of continuing news coming out of the place."
Story first published: Monday, September 22, 2008, 13:19 [IST]
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