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Friday, 9 August, 2002, 04:57 GMT 05:57 UK
Australia pull out of Pakistan tour
The Waugh twins will not be touring Pakistan
The Waugh twins will not be touring Pakistan
Australia confirmed on Friday they would be cancelling their three-Test tour of Pakistan because of security fears.

Australian Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive James Sutherland and chairman Bob Merriman made the announcement at a news conference in Melbourne.

"This morning the ACB met and decided that regretfully the Australian team will not tour Pakistan for the Test series in October," Merriman said.

"Our latest advice was that the environment in Pakistan is unlikely to change in the next few months."

"The ACB has a well-tested procedure to assess the safety and security issues surrounding impending tours.

"And this exhaustive process has enabled the Board to make an informed decision about the Pakistan tour."

Merriman said his counterparts in Pakistan were considering their position, confirming he still wanted to see the series go ahead, but at a neutral venue.

He added: "Given this situation, the ACB has now advised the Pakistan Cricket Board president of our decision and reaffirmed our desire to play the Test series, but at an alternative venue."

Concerns over security were heightened when six Pakistanis were shot dead in an attack on a school for children of foreign missionaries near Islamabad on Monday.

Several senior Australia players had already expressed concerns about touring Pakistan.

After the attack, Test captain Steve Waugh admitted that he would have major reservations over touring the troubled country.

"I think every one (of the players) would have some slight reservations after what's happened in the past, it's only natural," he said.

"You've really got to be guided by High Commissions who tell you what the feeling is, and whether it's safe for tourists to go there."

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is waiting to be fully advised by the ACB before making a decision on what it can do to resolve the problem.

"We're not going to force a team to play in a country their government advises them against travelling to," said spokesman Brendan McClements.

A string of recent cricket tours to Pakistan have been affected due to safety fears.

The triangular one-day series has already been moved to Kenya, while New Zealand pulled out of its tour after a bomb attack killed 11 French people in May.

The West Indies' planned tour was played on neutral territory in Sharjah.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan
"It's devastating for Pakistan cricket"
ACB chairman Bob Merriman
"Information strongly advised against touring Pakistan"
PCB head General Tauqir Zia
"We're also fighting against trouble"
Pakistan struggle to attract touring teams

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