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Will respect players' decision if they are not comfortable with touring Pak: ACA chief Greenberg

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Sydney, Jan 11 (IANS) Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) chief Todd Greenberg has said that there will be a couple of players is the squad who “won’t be comfortable” with playing in Pakistan during the Test and limited-overs series in March-April, adding that he would “respect” their decision.

Australia are scheduled to play three Tests, three One-day Internationals and a one-off T20I against Pakistan beginning with the first Test from March 3 at the National Stadium in Karachi.

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“There may be one or two players who won’t be comfortable despite the best advice we (Cricket Australia and ACA) give, and that’s OK, we need to respect that,” Greenberg told Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.

This will be Australia’s maiden tour of Pakistan since 1998, when the Mark Taylor-led side won a three-Test series 1-0.

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Greenberg, the former ACA chief executive, also said that he would like to join the entourage should the security team give the nod for the series to go ahead.

“I’ve made an assurance to the players that they won’t go alone. If they’re going to Pakistan, I’ll be going with them and I think that’s important. It’s an opportunity to show the players that we’re in this together. The ACA accompanied Cricket Australia on a pre-tour of Pakistan late last year, and the reports were all very positive. But we’ll continue to take the advice of DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and other government organisations, as we need to be able to satisfy not just the players, but their families, that it’s safe to tour,” Greenberg.

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New Zealand had abandoned their limited-overs tour of Pakistan in September last year due to security threat perception and flown out hours before the start of the opening ODI. Later, the England men’s and women’s teams also called of their brief trips to Pakistan before the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Nick Hockley too is planning to travel to Pakistan for some duration of the tour, while interim chair Richard Freudenstein may also visit the country during the series to meet Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja.

On a possible player pull-out ahead of the announcement of the squad, Greenberg told SEN Radio, “We have to be kind and patient with each other, and there’ll be a player or two who say, ‘You know what, this is not for me at this particular point in my life and career, I’m not comfortable going’. If that’s the case, we need to have great respect for that.”

–IANS

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