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Aussies plan to play Pakistan

Series to go ahead in United Arab Emirates

Touring: Ponting's Aussies will still face Pakistan

Australia's one-day series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates will go ahead as planned but Cricket Australia are to step up security following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore.

Five Sri Lanka players were injured and five policeman killed after gunmen opened fire as the team bus made its way to the Gaddafi Stadium ahead of the third day of the second Test.

Australia pulled out of a tour of Pakistan last year because of security concerns. Five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 clash to be played in the UAE starting next month were confirmed last week.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland said the trip to the Middle East was still on pending routine security checks.

"We're scheduled to play against Pakistan in the UAE starting in late April, at this stage that tour will go ahead as planned," Sutherland said.

"Of course with any tour we play overseas, it is always subject to the latest security advice we have. We will go through our usual course of pre-tour visits ahead of that tour.

"Within that we reserve judgment at any stage if we feel it is not safe for our team to be in a certain place, we will take appropriate action and the appropriate steps just as we have in the past."

Sutherland said CA had every confidence in its security advice, but that the blatant targeting of international cricketers in the Lahore attack would see even more focus on player security.

"We're very aware and very concerned about security issues surrounding our team, and to others. Other members of Cricket Australia staff travel overseas from time to time. We need to be very aware and take the best possible advice," he said.

"We have our own independent security consultants. We take the best advice we can from government and other sources. We won't in any way be stepping down, we will be stepping up in that."

England possible hosts

Meanwhile, talks have begun for Australia to play Test matches against Pakistan in England in 2010.

The Aussies refused to tour Pakistan last year but are keen to re-schedule the three Tests elsewhere, with England already looking favourite.

"We are currently talking to Pakistan about playing Test cricket," said CA spokesman Peter Young. "Those discussions are a work in progress and I would not like to forecast a likely outcome.

"However, one option we have discussed with them is playing three Tests in England in mid-2010 or thereabouts after the ODIs we are due to play against England in England.

"I understand that England is, in principle, aware of and comfortable with that possibility, subject to details that might develop.

"However, as I say, that is a continuing discussion at the moment, I don't think it is possible to predict when the current discussions might be finalised, and I don't think it is possible to predict whether the above outcome or a completely different outcome might eventuate."

Should Pakistan still be allowed to co-host the 2011 World Cup?

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