England cricketers threaten to boycott Champions Trophy

June 21st, 2008 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS  

London/Karachi, June 21 (IANS) After Australian cricketers expressed apprehensions over travelling to Pakistan for the Champions Trophy, English players have joined the chorus, threatening to boycott the biennial event. The English players are planning to revolt against the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) if they are forced to play in Pakistan, according to a media report.

“The Aussies have already come out and expressed their concerns. I’m not a big fan of going to Pakistan. I hope it is not left with the players to make the decision in the end,” a senior English player who spoke on condition of anonymity was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

But England coach Peter Moores played down the situation and said: “We’ll wait and see what is said (by the players) and if that’s where we are going, we’ll take advice from the ECB.”

English Players’ Association Chief Executive Sean Morris said: “We are working with the ECB on security reports which we will present to the players. Prior to that, there is bound to be a period of uncertainty.

“I met three of the England players and one of the main issues that came up was security arrangements for Champions Trophy. They asked me why the tournament is starting on Sep 11. It is difficult to answer that question, to be honest,” Morris said.

The newspaper said that security expert Reg Dickason, whom Cricket Australia (CA) was planning to send to Pakistan to assess the security situation there, will also report his findings to ECB.

Even New Zealand cricketers have their reservations over touring Pakistan and New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) chief executive officer Justin Vaughan will revisit the issue.

Captain Daniel Vettori had witnessed a bomb blast outside his team hotel when New Zealand toured Pakistan in 2002. But the cricketer felt that it was safe to tour Pakistan if the level of security was the same as when his side toured Pakistan in 2003.

“I was there when the bomb went off outside our hotel (in 2002). I went back a year later on the tour and the security they put forward was immense, and almost overwhelming. I did feel safe throughout that time,” Vettori said.

“So if they could promise that level of security it would appease a lot of guys.”

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has already said that his teammates are afraid of touring Pakistan but International Cricket Council (ICC) maintained that it is satisfied with the security situation in Pakistan.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also dismissed security concerns.

“We’ve been hearing though the media that there are concerns among some of the players about the Champions Trophy, but we are not taking any of it seriously unless there is an official confirmation from the boards of those countries,” PCB’s director of cricket operations Zakir Khan was quoted as saying by The News.

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