Blasts won't affect CT: Naghmi

Shafqat Naghmi, CEO of the Pakistan Board, says this week's bomb blasts in Lahore and Peshawar won't trouble the Champions Trophy.

updated: August 18, 2008 16:49 IST
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Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Operating Officer Shafqat Naghmi on Thursday said this week's bomb attacks in Lahore and Peshawar will have no adverse affect on the nation's chances of hosting the Champions Trophy next month.

Naghmi said the PCB in its discussions with the ICC officials had already made it clear that such terrorist attacks can happen in the given scenario in some cities away from the stadiums and hotels.

"But we have assured them of the best security arrangements for the players, officials and other stakeholders during the tournament at the stadiums, hotels and wherever they move around," he said.

"We have told all stakeholders that security will be tight during the Champions Trophy but if something happens elsewhere in the city we can't give any guarantees for that. Cricket has been played in cities where bomb blasts have taken place at the same time," Naghmi said referring to the London blasts in 2005 when Australia was playing at the Oval and recently in Jaipur when the Indian Premier League was being held.

The ICC task force members are presently in New Zealand and Australia to brief and convince the players and officials about the security arrangements for the biennial tournament starting from September 12.

They met with New Zealand officials and players today and would repeat the exercise in Melbourne with the Australians on Friday.

Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa are among the teams which have apprehensions of playing in Pakistan because of security fears.

Naghmi said Pakistan was making the best arrangements for the event and would ensure top class security for the stakeholders with the support of the government.

"I don't think these recent blasts should influence anyone's thinking. As far as cricket is concerned nothing has ever happened in our sphere."

He also dismissed reports that the countries reluctant to play in Pakistan had been told to give a final answer by August 20 to the ICC and that the task force would submit its report to all member countries.

"I don't think the task force is submitting any report but their job is to go and assure the teams about the arrangements and preparations for the tournament."

"As far as we know no team has withdrawn from the Champions Trophy as yet," he said.