Pakistan will not withdraw as Asia Cup hosts - Ashraf

Friday, January 25, 2008

Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, has said that Pakistan would not back down as hosts of the Asia Cup, scheduled in June. Ashraf has reacted to an offer by his Sri Lankan counterpart Arjuna Ranatunga to host the tournament due to the security situation in Pakistan following former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

"There is no way we would withdraw as Asia Cup hosts, then I don't know why they [Sri Lanka] had to make such an offer,"

Ashraf told the News in Karachi.

Ranatunga confirmed that Sri Lanka was willing to act as a back-up should both sides agree on a neutral venue but left that decision to Pakistan.

"We have written and asked Pakistan if we can host the Asia Cup,"

Ranatunga told AFP in Colombo on Thursday.

"It's a sensitive issue, but we will understand if Pakistan refuse us."

The PCB had earlier ruled out hosting Australia in a neutral venue for the home series in March and April. General elections were due to be held in the country on January 8, but have now been postponed to February 18. A security delegation from Australia is expected to arrive after the elections and Ashraf has expressed confidence that both series would go on as planned.

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