Players wait for decision on March series February 15, 2008

Ponting reveals Pakistan tour concerns

Cricinfo staff

Phil Jaques: "I'm keen as mustard to play if it's safe to tour - and the players deem it safe" © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting has spoken of Australia's fears over touring Pakistan next month as the country prepares for its elections on Monday. The Australians did not travel there in 2002 due to security issues and a similar decision is likely due to the current political instability.

"Look, there is no doubt at all in our dressing room that there are some concerns," Ponting told the Australian. "Anybody who would be touring Pakistan at the moment, whether you are a cricketer or just a day-to-day citizen, I think you would have some concerns. I don't think we are different to anybody else."

A security inspection team is supposed to go to the country before the series, but even that is not certain to happen. Cricket Australia is hopeful of a contest at a neutral venue if Pakistan is not deemed safe and the topic will be discussed when the country's chief executives meet in Kuala Lumpur next week.

"We are being kept in the loop daily," Ponting said. "Cricket Australia is sending an expert group over there in maybe a week's time, to check things out, so we'll know more about Pakistan then."

Paul Marsh, the Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive, told AAP "everybody is concerned", but said it was committed to assessing the situation after the elections. Phil Jaques, the Australia opener, is also willing to wait before making a decision on whether he will go on the trip.

"It's not a bad place if the environment is right," Jaques, who visited with Australia A last year, told the Australian. "We'll just have to see what the environment is like after the election and move from there. I'm keen as mustard to play if it's safe to tour - and the players deem it safe."