Pakistan to boycott CT if venue changed

PCB on Sunday issued a veiled warning to ICC that it will boycott the Champions Trophy if the tournament is relocated to another country.

updated: August 28, 2008 06:44 IST
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Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Sunday issued a veiled warning to International Cricket Council (ICC) that it will boycott the Champions Trophy if the tournament is relocated to another country.

PCB Chief Operating Officer, Shafqat Naghmi admitted that after South Africa withdrew from the eight-nation tournament, there lies a strong possibility of Australia, England and New Zealand doing the same at the crucial ICC teleconference today.

He added that if the ICC today decides to relocate the biennial tournament, Pakistan also reserves the right to boycott the event.

"We are prepared for this and we are expecting a formal announcement at the teleconference," he said.

All the four countries have said they have got advice from their independent security consultants and from their government not to travel to Pakistan at this stage because of the security conditions in the country.

The countries have pointed out to the ICC that since January this year around 21 suicide bomb and planted bomb attacks have been taken place in Pakistan leaving over 400 people dead and scores injured.

The last one came at Wah Cantt, some 30 kilometres outside Islamabad two days ago in which around 70 people were killed.

However, Naghmi insisted that the security scenario was no different in other countries.

Terrorism is a problem all over the world, it is not just limited to Pakistan. And keeping this in mind we have made the best possible security arrangements for the Champions Trophy in consultation with the ICC security people. So how can countries now say they can't come to Pakistan," he said.

Naghmi said the PCB would do everything possible to ensure the Board did not lose hosting rights of the tournament due to be held next month but conceded other options were being studied, including relocating the event to any other country.

Meanwhile conflicting reports have emerged in the Pakistan media about the possible options if the Champions Trophy is taken away from the nation.

"The News" daily reported that if the event was not held on schedule, Pakistan would try to work out a tour to Australia or South Africa next month.

It said Pakistan is already short of international cricket after the Australians pulled out of their Test tour earlier this year and had to survive on hastily arranged tours by weak teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

The report quoted PCB sources as saying that since Pakistan's next international assignment is in November -- a One-day series with West Indies in Abu Dhabi -- it would try to convince other cricket boards including Australia and South Africa to arrange One-day or Test series for them at a short notice.

A proposal to have a four nation event involving Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka has not worked out since the Indian board, despite backing Pakistan strongly on the Champions Trophy issue, has said it cannot come because of packed international schedule till next January.