Reacting to New Zealand and England cancelling their white-ball tours of Pakistan one after the other over security concerns, Australia's Usman Khawaja has said that the cricket fraternity should not shun the subcontinent nation. Khawaja added that Pakistan is a safe country to play cricket.
Australia batsman Usman Khawaj, who was born in Pakistan but emigrated Down Under almost three decades ago, stated that it was easy to sideline finacially weaker cricketing nations like Pakistan and Bangladesh, adding that no one would dare to "say no to India". Further, the 34-year-old stated that successful organistaion of tournaments like Pakistan Super League (PSL) are a proof of improved security standards in the country, which hasn't seen much of international cricket after Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by gunmen in 2009.
In fact, New Zealand and England haven't played a series in Pakistan since 2003 and 2005 respectively.
"I feel it's very easy for players and organisations to say no to Pakistan, because it's Pakistan," Khawaja said in Brisbane. "I think the same thing would apply too, if it were Bangladesh. But nobody would say no to India, if they're in the same situation.
"Money talks, we all know that, and that's probably a big part of it. They keep proving time and time again through their tournaments that they're a safe place to play cricket. I think there's no reason why we shouldn't go back."
Khawaja would have happily travelled to Pakistan, noting "reports about feeling safe" from close friend Ben Cutting during his PSL stints. The Southpaw also took part in this year's PSL, although his section of the T20 league was held in the UAE because of a rise in Covid-19 cases in Pakistan.
"There's a lot of security. Heavy, heavy security," he said. "I've heard nothing but reports about people feeling safe. Even talking to the guys during the PSL about what it's like...they would say the same thing to me 'like 10 years ago, maybe not, but now 100 percent'."
Queensland captain Khawaja will have a chance to put a strong case for a Test recall next week, when his side hosts Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield and one-day matches.