Australian cricket team skipper says some players may not be ‘comfortable’ touring Pakistan

Nov 9, 2021: 

Australian captain Tim Paine said on Tuesday that there would be some players in the camp who would not be “comfortable” visiting Pakistan next year.

A day earlier, both the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Cricket Australia had confirmed that Australia would play three Tests, three ODIs and a T20I in Pakistan next year. However, the visit will proceed only after the issuance of security clearance.

Australian captain Tim Paine spoke to Australian radio station SEN and admitted that some players would not be 100% on the tour of Pakistan.

“There’ll be some guys who will be happy to take the experts’ advice and others will want to know a bit more,” Paine said. “If we’re totally honest, there might be some people who aren’t comfortable going regardless.

Paine admitted that there will be “issues that will, I’m sure, pop up.”

He said the team would discuss the issue and hoped to get the right answers. “Hopefully, we will get the best team we can,” he said, adding that the decision on whether to go to Pakistan or not depends on the individual rather than the team.

Paine shared his experience of touring Pakistan in 2017, when he was part of the World XI team that played an exhibition series in Pakistan. The Australian captain admitted that he had been reassured but at the same time was “unnerving”, adding that Pakistani security officials had taken “extraordinary steps” such as flying a helicopter over the team’s bus.

“The security we had on this tour was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life,” Paine said. “We had helicopters above us, five kilometers of roads were closed around us, every kilometer of land like checkpoints, it was extraordinary.”

“The fact you’re seeing it and thinking to yourself it may be necessary can be a bit unnerving, but at the same time to see the planning and execution of it, with literally a couple of choppers above your bus 20-30 metres above your head was comforting but also unnerving at the same time,” he added.

The Australian cricket team will arrive in Pakistan in March next year and will play a full cricket series by April next year.

The first Test between the two teams will be played in Karachi from March 3, while the second Test will be played in Rawalpindi from March 12 to 16. The teams will then play the third Test in Lahore from March 21 to 25.

The PCB has confirmed that the four whiteball matches of the series will be played in Lahore from March 29 to April 5. This will be the first time an Australian team has visited Pakistan in 24 years to play a cricket series here.

The last time an Australian squad played a series in Pakistan was in 1998 when Mark Taylor led them to a 1-0 series victory – their first since Richie Benaud’s team beat Fazal Mahmood’s team 2-0 in the 1959-60 series.

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