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Australia confirm India tour
Dismayed Pakistan Cricket Board make accusations of double standards.
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2008 13:43 GMT

Peter Young denies double standards over Pakistan [GALLO/GETTY]
Australia will go ahead with their four-test tour of India after a security review following a series of bombings in New Delhi, Cricket Australia (CA) spokesman Peter Young has said.

Young said CA has reviewed security advice from its own expert and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), following a series of blasts that killed at least 20 people and wounded about 100 others on the weekend.

CA confirmed that travel to India "remains appropriate."

"In consultation with the BCCI we have upgraded security in and around the dressing rooms and (the squad) will have an escort to the ground," Young said in a statement.

PCB outraged

The Pakistan Cricket Board accused Cricket Australia of double standards over its decision to proceed with its tour.

"It shows their double standards," PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said.

"When we promised them foolproof security for the Champions Trophy, they should have expressed confidence in us like they did in case of India."

Australia refused to make a scheduled tour of Pakistan earlier this year on security grounds and has postponed its visit until March 2009, when it will play five limited-overs internationals before returning for a three-test series in 2010.

Australia last toured Pakistan in 1997-98, and Naghmi said CA is "fast running out of excuses" not to come.

"I am waiting for what new excuse they are now going to come up with," Naghmi said.

"I have a feeling they are running out of excuses."

Standard practice

Young said it was standard practice to review security before all international series and dismissed suggestions of double-standards.

Young, however, said the assessment of the security risk was different for each of the countries.

"In very broad terms the advice we have is in sharp contrast to what we had for Pakistan, which was that it was not safe to travel (in Pakistan) because the attacks there were targeting westerners," Young said.

Different problems

"The problems (in India) are completely different in intensity and of a different nature."

That stance was backed by Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Paul Marsh.

"As much as it's sometimes reported that we cancel series at the drop of a hat, that is simply not the case," Marsh said.

"I would not say there is panic among the players I have spoken to, but a degree of concern.

"If the team stays in India, there might be some who criticize us for double standards.

But people need to understand our starting point is that we always want to tour."

Players will still be allowed to venture outside of the team hotels "within prudent guidelines".

The 15-man squad are due to leave Australia on Sunday and start the tour with warm-up matches in Jaipur and Hyderabad.

Both cities have been the targets of bombings within the past 13 months.

English-born Symonds has apologised to the team for his behaviour [GALLO/GETTY]
Symonds reforming

Andrew Symonds is committed to returning to the Australian cricket team, but has no idea how long it will take to win back selection.

Symonds returned to training for the Queensland state squad, his first official practice since he was sent home from Australia's series against Bangladesh in Darwin last month for skipping a team meeting to go fishing.

"I'm going through the process of trying to improve and become not only a better cricketer but a better person," the 33-year-old allrounder said.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge of taking up cricket again for my club, state and country, hopefully."

International future

Symonds was not selected for Australia's four-test tour of India starting later this month, with Cricket Australia deciding he needed more time to consider his international future.

A key member of Australia's World Cup winning teams in 2003 and 2007, Symonds has been a mainstay in the test lineup for the last two seasons.

He could get an opportunity for a recall when Australia hosts New Zealand and South Africa in test series this southern summer.

Symonds apologised to his family, teammates and cricket fans for his recent behavior which sparked wide criticism, including accusations from ex-Australia vice-captain Shane Warne that he was disrespectful to his teammates.

Source:
Agencies
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