Lawson fears Australia will cancel tour
Geoff Lawson, the Pakistan coach, fears Australia will pull out of their scheduled tour of Pakistan, due to start at the end of the month over safety concerns but feels it would be the wrong decision.
Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers' Association will meet foreign ministry officials in Canberra on Wednesday for the latest information on the security situation following a spate of bombings. CA is expected to send delegates to the nation in mid-March, although even that is now in doubt, and Lawson is already braced for a withdrawal.
"The (Pakistan Cricket Board) seems to be pretty negative about (the tour), only because the correspondence they've been receiving from Cricket Australia has been negative," Lawson told the Age. "Pretty much everything they've heard from CA has been a hedging of bets in case they decide not to come.
"The PCB have been pretty disappointed by the comments. Everyone here knows there would be no problem with the tour, yet the more likely scenario seems to be that it won't happen from what we're hearing."
Andrew Symonds has repeatedly said he is unlikely to make himself available if the tour went ahead. Lawson warned that cancelling the tour would have a disastrous effect on Pakistan cricket and create more ill feeling against the Australians. He also said the tour would offer average Pakistanis relief from the concerns of their daily lives.
He was particularly concerned that some Australian players were viewing a cancellation as an opportunity to grab some of the cash on offer in the Indian Premier League, which clashes with the tour.
"It would be a terrific coincidence," Lawson said. "You would like to think that wouldn't be what it was about, but the amounts of money being talked about are massive. To a certain degree, it's pretty embarrassing to be over here and hearing some of the stuff being said.
"When people here read what Symonds has had to say about touring Pakistan, there is a lot of shaking of the head. There is no knowledge behind those comments whatsoever. Australian players don't realise how important the game is to other countries. This decision is far bigger than just the fate of a few matches. It's the precedent it would set, it would give everybody an out from coming here because 'that's what Australia did'."