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Some Aussie players may not be comfortable touring Pakistan next year, feels Paine

A day after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Cricket Australia (CA) both confirmed that Australia will tour Pakistan for three Test matches, three ODIs and one T20I next year, Aussie Test skipper Tim Paine on Tuesday said that there will be few players in their camp who will not be “comfortable” touring Pakistan next year.

Even as both the boards have confirmed for the tour, however, it would go ahead only after security clearance is issued.

Paine spoke to Australian radio station SEN and admitted that some players may not be 100 percent comfortable while touring Pakistan.

“There’ll be some guys who will be happy to take the experts’ advice, and others will want to know a bit more. If we’re totally honest, there might be some people who aren’t comfortable going regardless. That’s happened before with tours going to other countries going back forever,” Paine told SEN Radio.

“Again, there are issues that will, I’m sure pop up. We’ll discuss it; people get the right answers and feel comfortable, then we’ll get hopefully the best team we can. At the end of the day, it comes down to the individual,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pain also recalled his personal experience of touring Pakistan in 2017, when he was part of the World XI team and said that he was reassured but also “unnerved” at the same time, with Pakistan’s security officials taking extraordinary measures, such as having choppers fly above the team’s bus.

“The security that we had on that tour was unlike anything that I’ve ever seen in my life,” Paine said.

“We had helicopters overhead, roads shut down five kilometres around us, checkpoints like every kilometre into the ground, it was extraordinary. The fact you’re seeing it and thinking to yourself it may be necessary can be a bit unnerving, but at the same time to see the planning and execution of it, with literally a couple of choppers above your bus 20-30 metres above your head was comforting but also unnerving at the same time,” he added.

Notably, the upcoming tour will be Australia’s first tour of Pakistan since 1998. While the Tests will take place in Karachi between March 3 and 7, the second and last Test will be staged in Rawalpindi and Lahore between March and 25 March respectively.

On the other hand, Lahore will be the venue for the four white-ball matches, which will be played between March 29 to April 5, 2022.

The Tests will be played as part of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC), while the ODIs will be connected to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League – a 13-team event from which the seven highest-placed sides and the hosts, India, will qualify directly for the event proper in 2023.

On Monday while confirming the tour, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said: “I am delighted to welcome Australia to Pakistan. From a personal point of view, it pleases me no end that we’ll be engaged in a three-Test match series, connoisseurs delight. Australia are one of the high-performing sides and them playing in our backyard for the first time after a gap of 24 years will be a special treat for the fans.”

“Likewise, it will be a great opportunity for the Australia cricketers to not only play at our iconic venues but also feel and enjoy the respect, love and hospitality that this great country offers, something which most of their previous generation of cricketers missed out by playing offshore,” he had added.

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