Cricket Australia had reportedly refused to tour Pakistan in March this year, citing security concerns. According to Australian newspaper Sydney Morning Herald, Australia has decided not to visit Pakistan during the upcoming five-match ODI series and has informed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) about this decision, in early January. Although Cricket Australia is open to the idea of touring Pakistan in the future. “At this stage, from an Australia team perspective, we are not contemplating moving our current bilateral-tour arrangements from taking on Pakistan in the UAE, when they host the next series,” a CA spokesperson said. “But we do remain open to the idea of playing in the country again. We formally advised the PCB of this position in early January.” The spokesperson further said that they will continue to monitor the security situation in Pakistan but the safety of their players is their number one priority. “We want to see international cricket return to Pakistan – the country has a huge passion for it,” the spokesperson added. “However, the safety of our players and support staff is our number one priority and we won’t compromise that. We’ll continue to take advice from a range of government agencies and our own security intelligence and act on this accordingly.” Responding on the report, PCB issued a statement stating that: “Chairman PCB Ehsan Mani wrote a letter to the CA Chairman, Earl Eddings, on 7 January in which he had suggested that the CA, as part of a standard protocol and process for bilateral series, should send their team to Pakistan to receive presentations on Pakistan’s security arrangements.” The statement added: “The PCB is still waiting for a response from the CA. Until the PCB hears further from the CA on their 7 January letter, they will consider this as an open and an ongoing discussion.” Most cricket nations have avoided touring Pakistan since 2009 when gunmen attacked a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers, injuring six players and killing six security personnel and two civilians. Australia have not toured Pakistan since 1998 – when they played three Tests and three one-day internationals under the captaincy of Mark Taylor. Some Australian players, including current Test captain Tim Paine, have played in Pakistan. Paine was part of a World XI side that played three T20Is in Lahore in 2017, alongside fellow Australians George Bailey and Ben Cutting. Apart from that World XI series, Pakistan has hosted a T20I against Sri Lanka — the targets of the terror attack in 2009 that took the game away from the country — and the West Indies. A number of PSL games have been staged in Lahore and Karachi, and the PCB is planning to play eight more there this season. “It would be great to get cricket back in Pakistan,” Aaron Finch, Australia’s ODI captain, said on Friday. “The passion their fans have got and just the amount of fans … (there are) some pretty empty stadiums in the UAE. Anytime there’s cricket back in Pakistan, they’re swinging from the rafters to get a seat. “Is it the right time? I’m not sure … that’s between the boards and the ACA (Australian Cricketers’ Association) to work through.” Published in Daily Times, January 14th 2019.