ACB withdraws from Pakistan Test tour, confirms participation in Kenyan one-day international series
The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) announced today that due to serious concern about the safety and security of the Australian cricket team, it had been forced to withdraw from the up-coming Travelex Test tour of Pakistan.
ACB Chairman Bob Merriman said that recent advice from a range of Australian government sources had clearly identified an increasing security risk for the Australian team in Pakistan.
"Following our most recent information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian High Commissioner in Pakistan, the Board has decided that, regrettably, travelling to Pakistan would compromise the safety of our players and officials," Mr Merriman said.
"Given this situation, the ACB has now advised Pakistan Cricket Board President Lt Gen Tauqir Zia of our decision and re-affirmed our desire to play the Test series as scheduled in October but at an alternative venue."
Mr Merriman said it was a decision the ACB had not taken lightly.
"The ACB has a well-tested procedure to assess the safety and security issues surrounding impending tours. This exhaustive process has enabled the Board to make an informed decision about the Pakistan tour," he said.
The system for assessing the risk to players and officials involves a number of key steps:
- a pre-tour inspection carried out by representatives from the ACB the Australian Cricketers' Association;
- on-going discussions with the administrative organisation in the host nation;
- briefings from the Australian High Commissioner in the relevant country; and
- briefings from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Mr Merriman said the ACB deferred the decision until today in the event that the security concerns may diminish.
"We have held off making a decision in the hope that the situation in Pakistan improved. Unfortunately, our advice from the Australian government suggests that the environment in Pakistan is unlikely to change over the next few months."
"In coming to a decision today, I believe the ACB has provided enough time for Pakistan's contingency plans for alternative venues to be implemented."
Mr Merriman added that the ACB was sympathetic to the Pakistan Cricket Board's current position.
"Unfortunately, circumstances in Pakistan have made it difficult for international cricket to be played in the nation recently. It is disappointing that external influences are affecting a game that so many Pakistanis are passionate about," he said.
"Nevertheless, from an Australian perspective, the safety of the players and officials must take precedence and I hope there are initiatives that the ACB and the Pakistan Cricket Board can provide to support Pakistan cricket in the future."
The ACB also confirmed today that the Australian team would participate in the tri-angular one-day international series starting in Nairobi on 29 August.
ACB Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the confirmation came following the pre-tour inspection of facilities in Kenya by ACB Team Manager Stephen Bernard and Australian Cricketers' Association Chief Executive Officer Tim May.
"Following this pre-tour inspection, the ACB is now comfortable with the arrangements in place for this series," Mr Sutherland said.
The Australian one-day international team will assemble in Brisbane from Wednesday 21 August ahead of its departure for Nairobi on Monday 26 August.
The team's training, travel and accommodation schedule for its assembly in Brisbane will be released within the next week.
Australia's first match in the Kenyan tri-nation tournament is against Pakistan on 30 August.