Clarke welcomes Champions Trophy decision

Australia's vice captain is pleased that the parties involved have taken a decision. We look forward to defending the trophy, he said.

updated: August 28, 2008 06:46 IST
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Stand-in Australia captain Michael Clarke has welcomed the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to postpone the controversial Champions Trophy until 2009.

Faced with the likely absence of a number of top sides, with South Africa having already announced they would not play in Pakistan due to security fears, the ICC decided over the weekend to delay the event until October next year.

Despite attempts by the ICC to address security concerns in a string of meetings across the globe last week, England, Australia, the West Indies and New Zealand were all expected to follow South Africa's lead.

The teams had been concerned about the continuing security situation in Pakistan following a number of suicide bombings in the country over the past few months.

Cricket Australia (CA) had not announced a final decision on its team defending their title if the tournament -- one of the premier competitions in limited overs cricket - went ahead next month.

However, the recommendation of the powerful Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) was that its players should not tour.

Speaking as the team prepared for a three-match one-day series against Bangladesh that was intended to be a Champions Trophy preparation, Clarke said the Australians were "happy" the matter had finally been resolved.

"I think my view has been all the time that the ICC, Cricket Australia and the ACA would make a decision and they have finally done that," Clarke said.

"It's a tournament Australia currently holds. So, come next year whenever they put it back on, we are looking forward to retaining that trophy.

"Right now I think all the guys are rapt that the ICC has made a decision."

One problem posed by the proposed change is that the tournament will clash with India's scheduled seven-match one-day series against Australia.

Australia hasn't played in Pakistan since 1998. Their tour scheduled for earlier this year was also postponed.

CA spokesman Peter Young said they were hopeful future tours of Pakistan would go ahead as planned.

"What we're all hoping now is the situation in Pakistan allows us to go there next year," Young said. "We're passionately keen to be able to do that.

"The former president is now resigned ... we're all hoping the civil situation returns to order.

"We haven't had a senior Australian team in Pakistan for a long time."

He added that it was crucial for world cricket that Pakistan cricket was strong.