MELBOURNE: The Australian Cricketers Association is confident that all selected players for the month-long tour of Pakistan would not have any reservations touring the country in March-April this year, the ACA chief executive said on Wednesday.
Australia would play three Tests, an equal number of ODIs and a one-off T20 International on the tour beginning with the first Test at the National Stadium in Karachi on March 3. This would be Australia’s maiden tour of Pakistan since 1998 when the Mark Taylor-led side won a three-Test series 1-0.
New Zealand had abandoned their limited-overs tour of Pakistan in September last year. Later, the England men’s and women’s teams also called off their trips to Pakistan before the ICC T20 World Cup staged in the UAE.
“I think everyone will go [to Pakistan]. It’s a very significant tour with three Test matches. Talking to the players, they want to test themselves against the very best in the world and they want to play in different conditions,” ACA chief executive Todd Greenberg told SEN Radio.
“As Australians, we’ve got a duty to the broader international game to continue to play cricket [overseas]. We can’t just expect teams to continue to tour Australia and for us not to make that same level of commitment.”
Greenberg admitted that Australia not touring Pakistan in the last 24 years had got to do with the turmoil in the country but added that Cricket Australia (CA) would do everything possible to ensure the highest security measures were in place.
”We’re not taking any chance and we’re doing everything possible to protect them not just the players but their families. We’ll take a really strong team and players will embrace that opportunity,” he said.
After Australia wrapped up their Ashes assignment at home with a 4-0 series win against Joe Root’s led England, the focus has now turned to the Pakistan tour, which is significant for several key members of the Australian squad, including Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja.
Labuschagne is currently ranked No.1 Test batter in the world but has yet to play a Test in the sub-continent, while Khawaja would like to show his centuries in both innings of the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney were not a flash in the pan.
The Pakistan Test series could also open the door for leg-spinner Mitch Swepson to make his debut in the longest format.
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2022