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ACA cancels planned inspection to Pakistan

Sydney, Mar 4 (UNI) Australia's tour of Pakistan seems to be in doubt again as the ACA cancelled its planned inspection following security concerns.

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) had planned to send Paul Marsh as a delegate to Pakistan to check whether it was safe enough for the players to proceed with their tour.

But they found it dangerous for Marsh to travel Pakistan because of widespread violence and the recent twin suicide bomb blasts.

ACA president Darren Lehmann said ''We're not sending Paul Marsh on the pre-tour visit and that's basically because we as a board don't feel comfortable sending one of our employees there at the moment.'' ''So unless we have the right advice to say it's safe and say we can go, then we'll send someone but at the moment our advice is not to.'' Lehmann informed that the final decision on whether the tour will go ahead has not been made yet but the ACA was planning to meet government departments to discuss the latest developments.

''On Wednesday we'll meet with the government departments and see what is really out there,'' he said.

''We'll get our advice from them, security issues, any other problems we have with Pakistan.

''I think they'd need a lot of assurances along the way,'' he added.

The Australian and Pakistan boards had earlier agreed to shorten the series to a month because of the security concerns.

Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson told the 'Sydney Morning Herald' that he believed the players will be safe and the tour must go ahead, however, he feared it would probably be cancelled.

''The PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) seems to be pretty negative about (the tour proceeding), only because the correspondence they've been receiving from Cricket Australia has been negative,'' Lawson said.

''Pretty much everything they've heard from CA has been a hedging of bets in case they decide not to come. The PCB have been pretty disappointed by the comments.

''Everyone here knows there would be no problem with the tour, yet the more likely scenario seems to be that it won't happen.'' UNI XC CS RAR DS1156

Story first published: Tuesday, March 4, 2008, 20:12 [IST]
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