ECB to monitor security for tour of Pakistan

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The Independent Online

The eight-week tour, beginning on 26 October, sees Tests in Multan, Faisalabad and Lahore, and a one-day international in Karachi. Lahore and Rawalpindi share four one-dayers.

Following the recent bombings in London there must be serious doubt as to whether the tour will go ahead, and issues concerning safety and security are set to dominate the lead-up.

So as not to distract Michael Vaughan's side from the Ashes, the ECB will wait until the end of the five-Test series before they sit down and talk to the players about the tour. In light of events in London and Foreign Office advice that British nationals of Western origin run a risk of being targeted by terrorists in Pakistan, several England players are privately apprehensive about the trip.

"As is the case for all England tours, this agreement is subject to ongoing advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office," said John Carr of the ECB.

"The safety and security of the tour party, media and supporters is top priority. Along with our security consultants we will monitor the situation and, after the Ashes, update the players and team management."

If security is assured, the ECB must send a team. Whether it gives players the option to tour is another matter, while the wives of Vaughan, the England captain, and Andrew Strauss expect children at that time.

But it might be seen as hypocritical for the ECB, if it receives the assurances it requires from the FCO and the Pakistan Cricket Board, to withdraw from the tour and then expect Pakistan to visit England and play two Test matches in London next summer.