ICC Back Australia`s Withdrawal

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The International Cricket Council have endorsed Cricket Australia's decision to postpone their tour of Pakistan.

CA insist they had "no alternative" but to pull out due to security concerns after a series of bomb blasts in Pakistan in recent weeks - the latest of which occurred in Lahore and is reported to have killed 15 people.

The ICC claim the postponement was a mutual decision.

An ICC spokesman said:

"It is a joint declaration, it is not a cancellation, it is a postponement.

"Both the boards can mutually postpone a tour.

"It has happened in the past, it is a decision the boards have taken so we support it."

The ICC have the power to fine Cricket Australia if it was felt there was insufficient justification for refusing to tour.

But the ICC insist that was not on their agenda.

"No, since it was a mutual decision there is no question of the ICC imposing any fines,"

added the spokesman.

Cricket Australia told the PCB they were willing to play the three Test series - which had already been put back to March 29 and shortened to just one month - in a third country.

But the PCB instead agreed to postpone the series in the hope it could be re-scheduled in Pakistan at a later date following a week of deliberations.

Australia has not toured Pakistan since 1998 with the three Test series in 2002 staged at neutral venues in Colombo in Sri Lanka and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

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