The chances of Australia's tour of Pakistan going ahead appear to have receded further with the claim that several players would refuse to make the trip even if Cricket Australia deemed it safe to do so. The news comes less than 24 hours after the board sent an email to its Pakistan counterparts hinting that the tour would not happen.
Both the Australian Cricketers' Association and the board gave cautious responses to reports that senior players were prepared to boycott the tour. "We are aware of the significant concerns that the players have and they are concerns we share," CA public affairs manager Peter Young said. "We're still moving through a process and we have a way to go before that process is finalised.
"It's completely natural for anybody reading the media to be concerned about what's going on in Pakistan, but we need to go behind the media reports and understand the actuality. There is still a little way to go before we have a definitive picture on that.
"There are some significant obstacles but that's not to say the obstacles are locked doors," Young insisted. "We need to work through some significant obstacles."
ACA chief executive Paul Marsh maintained that his organisation was still taking advice.
Meanwhile, PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf was at pains to stress that the tour should go ahead. ''We are absolutely sure that the environment to host Australia for cricket in March and April is secure, and I say that with absolutely no hesitation and a clear conscience," he said. Officially, CA will not make a decision until after the Pakistan elections on February 18.