Board assures safety of players July 26, 2007

Jaques happy to tour Pakistan

Phil Jaques is looking forward to Pakistan © Getty Images

Phil Jaques is confident that Cricket Australia has done its utmost to ensure security levels are high for Australia A's tour of Pakistan in September. Pakistan will provide the A and Under-19 sides with the kind of security measures usually reserved for Test sides, including close protection officers at all times.

"It's one of those things, isn't it," Jaques told Cricinfo during Worcestershire's match with Surrey at Guildford. "We put faith in Cricket Australia making the right decision with regard to our safety.

"I've toured there before [again with Australia A, in September 2005] when incidents have happened over there not far from where we were. It was scary but it's one of those things - you put faith in Cricket Australia and the guys that go there on pre-tour investigations to know the area.

"That's their job; they're security people. It's their job to make sure it's safe for us and I'm sure it will be safe." A security delegation from Cricket Australia has already reviewed arrangements for the tours and a Pakistan spokesman has said it was "fully satisfied with what it saw during the visit."

Jaques is hoping to use the tour to cement the Test opener spot vacated by Justin Langer earlier this year. He has competition from Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Brad Hodge. "It's exciting times," he said. "Hopefully I can use the tour to push for one of those spots." His English season has been going well - before the floods started to hit Worcestershire.

He wasn't affected by the flooding, as his house is on high ground, but he had to come to the rescue of team-mate Gareth Batty was stranded for a couple of days. "He had to stay at my house, he got cut off," Jaques said. "A couple of other guys were stuck trying to get in."

Worcester don't have indoor training facilities, so it's been a question of fitting in fitness training where possible. "We've now got an outdoor swimming pool, though," he said, referring to the New Road ground, which is underwater. "Fifty metres or so? It's probably the biggest swimming pool in England."

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo