Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja open to playing cricket in Pakistan if safety concerns are overcome

 foxsports.com.au  01/11/2019 06:37:00 

Finch’s team face India in a three-match ODI series which starts on Saturday in Sydney.

Australia then tackle India and Pakistan in two away ODI series which will serve as building blocks for a World Cup defence which is looking decidedly shaky.

Dates and venues for the trip to India were confirmed recently but details of the second series, in which Steve Smith and David Warner might potentially return from year-long suspensions, were yet to be locked in.

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Finch bouncing back after axe

Finch bouncing back after axe

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) remains upbeat that at least some part of the five-match series in March will be staged in Lahore or Karachi, marking Australia’s first visit since 1998.

The more likely scenario is the United Arab Emirates will host the entire series, with Cricket Australia (CA) citing safety concerns.

Most teams have refused to tour Pakistan since 2009, when gunmen attacked a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers.

“Obviously, whatever Cricket Australia tells us, that’ll be the big thing,” Khawaja told reporters.

“We’ll leave it to the administrators. They’re pretty good at taking care of us and making sure everything’s safe.

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“I was born in Pakistan so it won’t be too different for me but it’s still a while away and we’ve (now) got three big games against the best nation in the world.”

CA chief executive Kevin Roberts declared to AAP a fortnight ago that “we’ll never compromise the safety of our players” and “we’ll be taking advice from the experts”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) advises Australians to “reconsider your need to travel to Pakistan due to the volatile security situation and high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping and sectarian violence”.

Australian cricket captain Aaron Finch addresses the media ahead of the first ODI against India.
Australian cricket captain Aaron Finch addresses the media ahead of the first ODI against India.Source: AAP

Tim Paine, George Bailey and Ben Cutting were part of a World XI who travelled to Pakistan in 2017, while compatriot Chris Green visited Lahore during last year’s Pakistan Super League.

“It would be great to get cricket back in Pakistan,” Finch 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.”

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