CT relocation leaves former Pak players worried

Pakistan's former cricketers fear for the future of the sport in the country after the ICC decided to relocate the prestigious Champions Trophy.

updated: February 02, 2009 17:38 IST
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Pakistan's former cricketers fear for the future of the sport in the country after the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to relocate the prestigious Champions Trophy.

They also blamed Pakistan cricket Board for letting the situation go out of hand due to inaction.

"It is a big blow to Pakistan cricket. Not only the shifting of the Champions Trophy but also the reversal of the Oval Test result," former captain Rameez Raja said.

"I think the Board sent out the wrong message to the cricket world when they said they were ready to play India and Australia at neutral venues," he added.

Rameez said the PCB officials need to sit down and decide once and for all what policy they will adopt on international teams not touring Pakistan.

"It is a difficult one but one that has to taken because if we keep on accepting touring team demands to shift our matches to neutral venues then the situation is never going to change and we will continue to suffer from lack of international cricket at home," Rameez said.

He also said the reversal of the Oval Test was a blow to the PCB.

"It indicates that we really need to improve our position in the ICC and garner support from other member countries."

Former captain Rashid Latif, fuming at the decision of the ICC, said the relocation of the Champions Trophy was hard to understand.

"We just hosted Sri Lanka without a problem and no cricket match has ever been hit by terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Yet the ICC acted in such haste without realising the damage they could cause long-term to our cricket," he said.

Latif said at a time when Pakistan cricket badly needed the support of all other countries and the ICC, it was getting none from anyone which was sad.

Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said he was not surprised that the Champions Trophy has been relocated.

"We have been facing problems for a while now and unfortunately the Board has never tried in an organised manner to remove doubts and fears about the security in Pakistan among the international cricket community."

Inzamam said hectic lobbying and government help was needed to convince teams to tour Pakistan.

"I do not know for how long can we continue to play at neutral venues. Eventually if no team comes to Pakistan, we will be isolated and the sport will lose fan base in the country," he said.

Inzamam who was captain during the controversial Oval Test in 2006 said he was not really bothered about the result being changed again.

"It is an episode which shows how badly the authorities handled it. No one cares that the umpires in the first place laid a wrong charge of ball tampering against us of which we were later cleared."

Inzamam said rules and regulations were fine but wondered why the MCC did not come into the picture from the start or when the ICC decided to reverse the result to a draw.

Former Test batsman Zaheer Abbas echoed the same sentiments.

"The ICC acted very much in haste and if they took away this Champions Trophy we should at least get the 2010 one so that the 2011 World Cup is also held smoothly in our country," Abbas said.