PCB look for ICC help
PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf will call in the ICC if Australia pull out of their proposed tour next month.
Last Updated: 18/02/08 11:26am
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf will call in the International Cricket Council if Australia pull out of their proposed tour next month.
Some Australian players have expressed security concerns about travelling to troubled Pakistan, where former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December.
The PCB and Cricket Australia will meet to discuss whether the tour will go ahead in Kuala Lumpur, but the PCB are already drawing up contingency plans.
Should Australia refuse to travel, Pakistan will have to wait until the end of the year for its next Test, a situation the PCB are not happy about.
PCB board chairman Nasim Ashraf says they will consult with the ICC and ask for their help if Australia's tour does not go ahead.
"Pakistan are a major Test-playing nation and it will be a big injustice to us if we are left with just three Tests in an entire year," Ashraf told The News.
"Our team, which last played a Test match in December of 2007, will have to wait for its next Test at the end of this year.
"Such a situation is unacceptable to us and damaging for our cricket. We believe that as the governing body of world cricket, the ICC will have to help us out and get the optimum possible number of (international) matches for our team. We will expect the ICC to intervene.
"Our cricketers have to play the optimum number of matches if we are to realise our target of becoming the world's best team."
Australia are scheduled to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 in Pakistan, but there are reports that India and Sri Lanka could be called in as replacements should the Aussies not turn up.
But Ashraf added: "We are still counting on Australia to come here.
"Any efforts to fill in the gap if they pull out would only begin once they officially inform us they are pulling out."
On the pitch, Pakistan paceman Umar Gul has flown to Australia to check on his progress in recovering from a back injury.
The 23-year-old has spent five months on the sidelines but wants to play in a domestic Pentangular Cup game to prove his fitness for the possible visit of Australia.
He told The Dawn: "I am not in any pain at the moment, but a final opinion is necessary before starting to bowl again."