World cricket needs Pakistan: Aus, NZ

Updated: 21 August 2008 15:47 IST

Australia, New Zealand cricket boards agreed the world needed a strong Pakistan team but expressed concerns over security issues.


The cricket boards of Australia and New Zealand have said they were keen to support and help out Pakistan cricket but not at the cost of sending their teams to play in conditions which are deemed unsafe and unstable by security and intelligence agencies.

Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young and New Zealand Players Association Chief Executive Heath Mills agreed that the world cricket needed Pakistan to be strong.

"We want to support the PCB particularly. World cricket needs Pakistan cricket to be strong so we need to support them. But at the moment, only on this point of time with a lot of happening in Pakistan, we have a lot of concerns," Mills told Geo News.

"Who knows that somewhere in the future, very soon, those concerns won't be there and we would be able to tour Pakistan as we did in 2002 and 2003. Ultimately, it's the ICC's and the Board's decision to make what they want to do. We'll have to wait and see what reports does the task force give back to the ICC next week," he said.

On a smooth New Zealand tour of Pakistan in 2003, Mills said it was quite a different situation besides now there would not be just one but eight teams to be provided security to.

"Things were quite stable in the country at that point, it's different now as it appears there is a lot of instability within Pakistan with the Taliban, the government things were not bad in 2003."

"Another key difference this time is that there will be eight teams on the ground, it's a lot, lot harder to strengthen out security measures with so many teams going to different practice venues, ground, areas. That is principally a concern of ours and we would want to see that demonstrated.

That is a major difference for sure for us," Mills said. Young said Australia was very keen to visit Pakistan and that the directors of CA have very strong views that there was a need for cricket in Pakistan to prosper as a world sport.

"Although we haven't been there as for 12 years we know that cricket is a sport and we shouldn't be subjecting the players to risk, we can't go anywhere if the security advice says it's not safe and at the moment we are not quite ready to make a decision. We would certainly be making a recommendation to our board of directors sometimes next week," he said.

Both the boards and their senior players were briefed by the ICC task force in the last 48 hours by a delegation that included Dave Richardson, ICC Cricket operations Manager and Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson.

"Dave Richardson and his security advisors talked about the commitments made by the PCB to protect the Aussies and other cricketing teams during CT.

"Tim May, former Australian spinner is now head of Global FICA, also talked and about the meeting that he had been very impressed with the upgraded activities by the Pakistani authorities," Young said.

"Players expressed a member of concerns about what they heard and seen from Pakistan, and they were very interested in commitments the authorities have made.

"They discussed it as a fact that they have been there previously and they were very keen to understand the specific commitments around the hotels at venues and in particular about the security during traveling between hotel and venues."

Young and Mills said Lawson had spoken well about living in Pakistan and how comfortable he was there.

"He (Lawson) said he wasn't there on behalf of the ICC or the PCB. He wanted to speak as an Aussie who is living in Pakistan to discuss his lifestyle in Pakistan and how he lives, his experiences and how he travels around but feels very safe and comfortable and undertaking his work on behalf of PCB," Young said.

Young said CA is taking advice from a lot of sources.

"We have the ICC, our own security company and we have access to other security advice and intelligence. What we'll be doing is that we will be adding the ICC's advice to that store of information and make a recommendation to our board of directors. I will expect that will happen sometimes later this week," he said.

Topics : Cricket New Zealand Pakistan
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