New Zealand confirm series against Pakistan

Wellington: New Zealand Cricket on Wednesday confirmed Pakistan would tour later this year but admitted concerns at how the public would react to the visitors following their scandal-tainted trip to England.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan dismissed a British newspaper report that sports chiefs were considering scrapping the Pakistan tour and seeking the West Indies or Sri Lanka as replacements.

Vaughan said the Pakistan trip was locked in under the International Cricket Council`s (ICC`s) Future Tours Programme and would go ahead as planned.

"You can`t just do that (change opponents) the way the Future Tours Programme is structured," he told the New Zealand Herald.

"It`s not a process where you can say `we`d rather have someone else`. It doesn`t work that way."

Pakistan are due in New Zealand late December for an 11-match tour that runs until early February.

Vaughan admitted he was concerned about how New Zealand fans would view the Pakistan team and the level of interest in watching a contest where one side was under a cloud following corruption allegations.

However, he said research showed the main motivation for New Zealand fans was seeing their home team in action, regardless of the opposition.

"These recent reports (from Britain) haven`t done us any favours," he said.

New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori this month called for corrupt players to be banned for life, saying otherwise crowds would question every result, even if it was legitimate.

Pakistan`s England tour has been plagued by corruption allegations since the News of the World reported that spot-fixing took place in last month`s fourth Test at Lord`s.

The ICC has suspended three Pakistan players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif while the allegations are investigated.

Bureau Report

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