'Bomb' remarks raise questions over tour November 15, 2007

Symonds suggests Pakistan unease

Cricinfo staff

Andrew Symonds has taken note of the current state of emergency in Pakistan © Getty Images

Andrew Symonds has given the first hint that the Australia players might not want to tour Pakistan next year due to political tensions in the country. Australia are scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs in Pakistan next February and March, though the tour will not be confirmed until a Cricket Australia security delegation visits early next year.

Pakistan is in a state of emergency and general elections are due in early January. "There do seem to be a lot of bombs going off over there. At the end of the day it is only a game of cricket," Symonds said half-jokingly.

"But I suppose, being the diplomat that I am, we are going to have to wait and see when we get closer to the time how many bombs are going off over there. But it is being bombed."

However, the Pakistan coach and former Australia fast bowler Geoff Lawson said the majority of the problems in Pakistan occurred in the North-West Frontier Province and he did not feel unsafe living in Lahore, in the province of Punjab. "The most fascinating part of it for me is that most people in this part of the world seem pretty much untroubled by what is going on," Lawson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Cricket, in particular, is the great untouchable of the subcontinent. Certainly, that's the way of it in Pakistan. I'm very comfortable."

Australia have not played Tests in Pakistan since 1998-99, with the most recent tour in 2002-03 moved to neutral venues in Sri Lanka and Sharjah due to security concerns. Australia A and the Australia Under-19 squad both visited Pakistan in September and October, but that was before the state of emergency was declared.