Zim cricketers worried about Pakistan tour

Zimbabwe national team cricket players are worried over the tour to Pakistan next week because of the political instability in the Asian nation and some of the players want the tour shelved to a later date.

Pakistan has been in turmoil more so after former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007.Bhutto was due to contest the presidential elections pushed to January 18, 2007 from January 8, when she was gunned down by a marksman who went on to commit suicide.Her killing sparkled violence that has left scores of people dead.”I would love to go and play cricket in Pakistan for the national team but the reports we are getting from there make me worried.”My family is advising me to pull out of the team if the tour is going ahead.”They are really worried” said one senior player from Matabeleland.Another player said: “Pakistan is one country that stood by us when others wanted Zimbabwe to be dropped from test playing nations.The political and safety situation here in Zimbabwe was being grossly exaggerated and teams like Australia cancelled their tours here.”But the Zimbabwe situation is different from Pakistan at the moment because people are dying in Pakistan and in Zimbabwe it’s just negative publicity,” said the player.Zimbabwe last toured Pakistan in September 2004 for a tri-nation tournament that also included Sri-Lanka.Pakistan last played Zimbabwe at the ICC World Cup in Kingston in March 2007 and powered to a 160-run victory.The two players are hoping the Zimbabwe Cricket Union will agree on shelving the tour with their counterparts from Pakistan Cricket Board.Zimbabwe is set to arrive in Karachi on January 12 for a five-match One Day International series as well as a four-day and a three-day match.The tour will start with a four-day match from January 14 at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex followed by the three-day match from January 22 at the Asghar Ali Shah Stadium.The ODI series starts on January 26, 2008 with the first match taking place in Hyderabad before matches at Karachi, Multan, Faisalabad and Sheikhupura.An executive member with Zimbabwe Cricket said the tour is still on the cards unless the Pakistan Cricket Board advises them otherwise as Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board is not certain if Zimbabwe will tour.”This is a huge national tragedy and a time of mourning for the whole country. I feel it is not appropriate to talk about cricket just now,” Ashraf told Cricinfo.Another senior board official said the Zimbabwe board had not been in touch yet.”Nobody from the Zimbabwe board has yet got in touch with us about the situation.”As of this immediate moment, it is on. But ultimately your guess is as good as mine,” he told Cricinfo recently.Australia, who are due to tour Pakistan in March, are due to send a security delegation to the Asian country in February, after which they will decide on the tour.- Zimbabwe Cricket

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