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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have revealed that just four venues will stage matches during Australia's planned tour of the country next month.

Tensions are high in Pakistan following the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December, and the PCB have promised that stringent security measures will be in place at the chosen venues, in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad.

The announcement came following a meeting between PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf and his Cricket Australia (CA) counterpart Creagh O'Connor, at which it was decided venues in Peshawar, Sialkot, Sheikhupura and Hyderabad were too small to police effectively.

Ashraf also assured O'Connor that Australia's players would receive the highest level of personal security while in Pakistan.

"We've told them that their cricketers would get the sort of security cover generally reserved for visiting heads of states," Ashraf told The News.

"We have informed them that the tour matches would only be played in major cities of Pakistan and strict security arrangements would be made to ensure that the series goes smoothly.

"(In the meeting) we highlighted the fact that Pakistan is a safe destination for sportsmen."

A final decision on whether the tour will go ahead will only be taken after a CA security delegation has inspected the four venues following Pakistan's general elections on February 18.

Australia are due to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 international while in Pakistan.
 
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