Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Kevin Roberts remains hopeful of the Australian men’s team touring Pakistan in 2022 but insists that he will not be rushed into a decision.
Roberts, along with CA head of security Sean Carroll, recently returned from a short trip to Pakistan where they met with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials at Lahore.
It was the first high-level visit of the country by a CA delegation in more than a decade and Roberts has stated that “things are moving in the right direction.”
“The beauty of the timing of this visit, we wanted it to happen well before we were faced with a key decision,” Roberts told Melbourne radio station SEN.
“The purpose was really to understand the landscape, look at the plans they have in place around security and then start expressing our expectations for the safety of our players and our support staff well over two years away from when we’re due to tour.
“So that we’re not dealing with that in a pressure-cooker environment a couple of months before the tour.
“Things are heading in the right direction, but in saying that we were travelling in armoured cars and escorted by police and felt very safe over there. But certainly, that level of security is still required at this point.”
Australia are slated to play two Tests, three ODIs and as many T20s against Pakistan in 2022 with the PCB pushing for the clashes to be held on Pakistan soil. The Aussies have not toured Pakistan since all the way back in 1998 and Roberts remains hopeful that the picture can change in 2022.
“I hope so. I really hope we do for the sake of world cricket and Australia’s important relationship with Pakistan,” he replied when asked if Australia would tour Pakistan again.
“As I said to Pakistan, we share their desire for international cricket to return to their country. But we will never jeopardise the safety of our people and we will keep taking advice from experts on the way.
“We have got the next couple of years to hopefully plan for a tour in 2022 but we have just got to step that out gently, bit by bit, rather than rushing into it.”
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