Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) Chief Todd Greenberg has told Australian cricketers that he will travel to Pakistan with them if the tour gets final approval but respects the wishes of “one or two” who might want to back out of the trip. If the team gets security clearance to travel, it will be Australia’s first tour to Pakistan since 1998.
“I’ve made an assurance to the players that they won’t go alone. If they’re going to Pakistan, I’ll be going with them and I think that’s important. It’s an opportunity to show the players that we’re in this together,” Greenberg told Australian publication The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).
“The ACA accompanied Cricket Australia on a pre-tour of Pakistan late last year, and the reports were all very positive,” he further added.
“But we’ll continue to take the advice of DFAT and other government organisations, as we need to be able to satisfy not just the players, but their families, that it’s safe to tour.” International teams have been reluctant to travel to Pakistan since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009.
However, international players have competed in Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the West Indies also travelled to Pakistan in December 2021 for a Twenty20 series.
Greenberg is aware that despite security assurances, a few cricketers might be unwilling to travel to Pakistan but he won’t force anyone.
“There may be one or two players who won’t be comfortable despite the best advice we give, and that’s OK, we need to respect that.”
CA chief executive Nick Hockley is also planning to travel to Pakistan for at least some part of the tour, while the interim chair Richard Freudenstein may visit for a period to meet with his counterpart Ramiz Raja, unless a new permanent chair is chosen by then, according to the report in the SMH.
New Zealand and England had called off their tours to Pakistan ahead of the T20 World Cup last year, much to the disappointment of cricket fans in Pakistan.
Chairman PCB Raja had earlier emphasised that cricketing nations need to back each other but said that “western bloc” was not helping the cause. He said he was expecting Australia to do the same what England and New Zealand did to them.
It must be noted here that Pakistan will be hosting series with England twice in 2022. The Englishmen will visit Pakistan for seven-T20I series in September-October and they will return for a three-Test series starting in November, after the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Pakistan and New Zealand Cricket Boards are also in constant talks to plan a series between the two nations.
Meanwhile, the seventh edition of PSL is also set to kick start from January 27. International players from many cricketing nations will participate in the league.