WELLINGTON: New Zealand say they are considering their first cricket tour to Pakistan since 2003 but Australia on Thursday shut the door on an appearance in the insurgency-wracked country. New Zealand Cricket is carrying out “due diligence” after a request to play a Twenty20 game in Pakistan, where the team hotel in Karachi was hit by a deadly suicide blast in 2002. “At the moment NZC is doing due diligence on the request and consulting with security providers, the government, and the players,” a spokesman told Radio New Zealand. “We will respond to the PCB when this process has been completed.” Pakistan will host tours by Australia and New Zealand in October and November, with the matches due to be played in the United Arab Emirates.
But the Pakistan Cricket Board has asked both teams to play the tours’ Twenty20 games in Pakistan, where international cricket is only now creeping back after a long hiatus. International tours to Pakistan stopped in 2009 when gunmen attacked the touring Sri Lankan team’s bus in Lahore, killing eight people. New Zealand last toured Pakistan in 2003, the year after a suicide bombing outside their Karachi hotel killed 15 people. However, Cricket Australia said it had no plans to play in Pakistan. “The safety and security of Australian players is our number one priority,” a spokesman told AFP. “From an Australia team perspective, we are not contemplating moving our current bilateral-tour arrangements from taking on Pakistan in the Middle East, when they host the next series.” International fixtures have been slowly returning to Pakistan, with Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, a World XI and West Indies all visiting the country without incident. Agencies
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