Pakistan relying on Asian bloc to save Champions Trophy

July 20th, 2008 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, July 20 (IANS) Pakistan is relying heavily on the support of fellow Asia Test-playing nations to bail them out of a “tough” situation involving the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy. Under pressure from competing nations like Australia, England and New Zealand whose players are threatening to boycott the September event, Pakistani cricket officials are looking towards the powerful Indian cricket board as well as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to help them retain the hosting rights of the Champions Trophy.

It was announced by the ICC Sunday that its executive board will decide this week whether or not to shift the elite eight-nation event out of Pakistan because of security issues.

The decision was taken after concerns raised at an ICC security briefing in Dubai from representatives of the eight participating teams and the international players associations (FICA).

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official later said that a final verdict on whether the Champions Trophy will stay in Pakistan would be taken within the next 72 hours.

According to sources, the ICC is under immense pressure from Australia, England, New Zealand and to some extent South Africa to relocate the Champions Trophy to some other venue as they believe that their players would be unsafe in Pakistan because of the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The sources said that Pakistan’s only support is coming from India and Sri Lanka - the other two Asia nations that will be competing in the Champions Trophy. The Bangladesh Cricket Board has also thrown its support behind the PCB.

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