Karachi, Dec 18 : Pakistan have made it clear that they would not allow their home series against Australia next year to be shifted to a neutral venue due to security concerns.
A top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said that 'shifting the series (against Australia) was not an option', adding that he is confident that the Aussies would tour Pakistan according to schedule.
The Australians are supposed to visit here to play three Tests, five One-dayers and a Twenty20 match in March-April.
"We are confident that the Australians will come and play here according to schedule," said Shafqat Naghmi, PCB's Chief Operating Officer.
However, signals coming from Australia are not that positive. There is certainly a lot of concern among Australian cricketers about touring Pakistan.
Earlier, Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds began the debate by saying that he was scared to tour Pakistan because a lot of bombs are going off there.
"There do seem to be a lot of bombs going off over there. At the end of the day it is only a game of cricket," he was quoted as saying by media reports.
The Australian Cricket Association (ACA) has also raised the issue. ACA president Darren Lehmann has stressed that Australia's tour should be cancelled, or moved to a neutral venue, if there was any risk to player safety.
Naghmi, however, ruled out the option of moving the series to a neutral venue. "Either the series will be played in Pakistan or be cancelled but there will be no neutral venue," he said.
Australia's three-Test tour of Pakistan in 2002-03 was shifted to Colombo and Sharjah because of security issues, The News reported.
Naghmi said that such a move would not be repeated next year adding that Pakistan will provide a waterproof security blanket to the Australians. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI