Symonds may skip Pakistan tour
Andrew Symonds says he will not tour Pakistan next year unless he is convinced the country has become more safe than in the days following the assassination of the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Symonds said while Australia's visit had not been cancelled, he would be prepared to pull out if selected.
"I'm not interested in going into a situation that's dangerous, where people are getting killed and hurt," Symonds told the Sunday Mail. "There's no point in that, in my opinion. I'm giving it some serious thought.
"At the end of the day, it's a game of cricket. I take my cricket very seriously and I love playing for Australia but I'm not going to put myself in a situation where I can be harmed. There's no need, not for a game of cricket."
Australia are scheduled to tour Pakistan in March and they are unlikely to make a decision on whether the trip will go ahead until a Cricket Australia security delegation assesses the conditions in February. Symonds said he would also be monitoring news reports and would speak to people who had spent time in Pakistan to learn more about the situation.
"You personally choose whether you want to play for Australia," Symonds said. "If you're selected, you can choose to decline the offer of going on a tour or playing a game. Unless CA hear otherwise, they assume you're playing. At some point a decision needs to be made. We don't know if things can get worse [in Pakistan].
"As it stands, we're still going. It is not a place you want to be right now, but there is some water to go under the bridge. The assassination of someone that important is not ideal is it?"
Symonds said news of Bhutto's death had left the Australian dressing-room in silence after the third day of the Melbourne Test as the implications began to sink in. "There is obviously huge concern," he said. "After stumps we watched the television report in the dressing-room and the entire room stopped to listen to it."
Mitchell Johnson said the players trusted in Cricket Australia to make the right choice on whether to tour. "Security are going over to see what it's like," Johnson said. "The trip is a long way away and no decisions are being made at the moment."
The 2002-03 Pakistan-Australia series was held in Sharjah and Sri Lanka but the Pakistan Cricket Board said they were not interested in relocating this season's games. If the tour goes ahead three Tests are expected to be played between March 17 and April 6, to be followed by five ODIs.