June 15, 2002

ACB won't rush decision on Pakistan tour


MELBOURNE, June 14 AAP - The fatal bombing in Pakistan today "increases concern" about the upcoming cricket tour of that country, according to the Australian Cricket Board (ACB).

But board chief executive James Sutherland stressed again tonight the ACB would not be rushed into a decision about its tour, scheduled for later this year.

"This tragic event increases concern about the tour," Sutherland said in a statement.

"As I've said before, any decision of this nature is based on the safety of our players and team management.

"We are continuing to take advice from the relevant experts and hold discussions with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

"We will make the decision at the right time, there is no reason to rush into a decision today."

AFP reported eight people were killed in a powerful car bomb attack on the US consulate in Karachi.

The ACB cancelled this year's tour of Zimbabwe because of security concerns. New Zealand called off its cricket tour of Pakistan last month because of another car bombing, also in Karachi, which killed 11 people.

That attack and ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India raised concerns about the Australian cricket tour.

Some key members of the Australian squad said they were not keen on touring Pakistan unless the situation there improved.

Australia and neutral venues such as Morocco and Sharjah have been suggested as alternative venues if the decision is taken not to tour Pakistan.

Sutherland said this week the venue decision primarily belonged to the PCB, while Pakistan captain Waqar Younis added he hoped the tour of his country would go ahead as planned.

Pakistan will play the second match of its three-game series of one-dayers against Australia here tomorrow night at Colonial Stadium.