Karachi: Raising the spectre of Australia fielding an under-strength team in the Champions Trophy in Pakistan, CA chairman Creagh O’Connor on Sunday said players would not be forced to participate in the September event if they give “genuine reasons” for their pullout.

“We have always believed that Australia would be sending their team at this stage. We will however not force any player to go anywhere ... if he has a legitimate reason not to do so,” O’Connor told ‘Geo TV’.

“At this stage we are planning to send our team. The individual requirement of the players is a matter of their conscience and comfort,” he added.

O’Connor is here to attend the Asia Cup final and the silver jubilee celebrations of the Asian Cricket Council with officials of other cricket boards including the Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board Giles Clarke.

Top Australian players, including skipper Ricky Ponting, have reservations about playing the Champions Trophy here in September due to security concerns.

The Australian Cricketers Association has also said it was not happy with the ICC decision to award the Champions Trophy to Pakistan.

The cricket boards of Australia, New Zealand and England sent a joint security expert here last week to inspect arrangements for the Asia Cup and submit a report in two weeks time.

O’Connor maintained that sending a security expert did not mean that CA was looking for excuses to avoid coming to Pakistan.

“It is unfortunate we have not come to Pakistan in the last ten years. But I think every country we visit, we take extreme care with security...the well-being of our players is the most important thing...and what we are doing in respect to Pakistan is nothing different from what we do elsewhere,” O’Connor said.

He said the ICC had received a report on the security in Pakistan and it had decided to take further action on it without elaborating on what the course of action might be. — PTI

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