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March 10, 2008
Cricket Australia (CA) says a decision on whether the national team will tour Pakistan later this month is expected to be made by the end of the week. Creagh O'Connor, CA's chairman, and his counterpart with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Nasim Ashraf, are scheduled to have a talk by telephone this week to discuss the situation with the tour considered in major doubt.
Australian players have expressed reservations over the security situation in Pakistan following a spate of suicide bombings. "Clearly the clock is ticking and there is a sense of expectation where we will reach a point certainly no later than this week on working out exactly what is happening," CA spokesperson Peter Young said.
The proposed tour has been compressed into a month, starting on March 29, and PCB officials have said they are against moving Australia's tour outside of Pakistan because of its long-term impact on cricket in the country. The Australian team has not played in Pakistan for a decade.
In 2002 a series that was scheduled for Pakistan was shifted to Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. The PCB has promised to provide extra security for the Australian players. Cricket officials met with Australia's foreign ministry in Canberra last week to get the latest updates on the situation inside Pakistan before making their tour decision.
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