Rare English sympathy for Australians

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The Independent Online
Cricket

England yesterday sympathised with Australia's World Cup plight, while expressing complete satisfaction over their own security arrangements in Lahore.

Ray Illingworth and his squad have been following events as best they can from Pakistan while warming up for next week's Group B match against New Zealand.

News that Australia had decided not to go to Sri Lanka in the wake of last week's Colombo bombing came as no real surprise. But the fear of Australia's captain, Mark Taylor, that they could be kicked out of the World Cup shocked Illingworth.

"Such an outcome would devalue the whole competition," Illingworth said. "But I don't see any necessity for that at all.

"If their game against Sri Lanka cannot be rescheduled elsewhere then the obvious alternative is for them to forfeit it, but play the rest of the Group A matches in India as planned.

"You have to feel sympathy for Australia. It would have been a difficult situation for us if we had been going to Colombo after what happened there last week. In addition, some of their players are said to have had death threats made against them."

Measures to protect England include armed soldiers in their hotel and a heavy military presence around the park ground where Mike Atherton and his team spent six hours practising yesterday.

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