Australia players could pull out of Champions Trophy
Ricky Ponting says Australia's players are still uneasy about visiting Pakistan for the Champions Trophy later this year. Ponting's comments came as an Australian newspaper reported that some members of the squad had told their team-mates they would boycott the trip if it went ahead, even if the security advice was positive.
Australia postponed their Test tour of Pakistan earlier this year due to safety concerns and although the ICC is happy with the current security situation there, the Champions Trophy will be discussed at an ICC executive board meeting later this month. Ponting confirmed some individual players had concerns about touring Pakistan.
"We don't know if we're going, and if we do go, we don't know if individuals are going to pull out," Ponting told AAP. "But what we know right now is, yes, there is some apprehension amongst some of the players and that was stated last summer. I don't think that would have changed until now.
"It might change in the coming weeks, if we get some good news from the security reports over there, then the individual's mindset might change a little bit. What happened last summer was probably something that made us all sit back and think about it a little more.
"If Cricket Australia and the players' association decide that we go, then it will be an individual's decision, as every tour is. But there will be some apprehension for sure."
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted an unnamed player as saying several members of the team would not visit Pakistan regardless of the security assessment. "It is going to come down to the individual's decision," the player said. "We have talked about it, and there are some guys who will go if security advice says it's okay. But there are others who have said they won't go, regardless. At this stage, we are waiting to hear more."
The New Zealand allrounder Jacob Oram has already expressed his concerns about visiting Pakistan for an ODI tour before the Champions Trophy. Ponting, who led Australia to the Champions Trophy triumph in India in 2006, said other players would almost certainly have similar worries.
"I'm sure some of the England players will have some concerns as well as a lot of the New Zealand players who have been confronted with this stuff before, in Sri Lanka and Pakistan," Ponting said. "It just won't be Australian players. There will be a few other teams who will be thinking long and hard if the tour does go ahead there."