England could send second string team to Champions Trophy

July 21st, 2008 - 6:46 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 21 (IANS) The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said that it cannot guarantee the participation of all its players in the Champions Trophy unless the tournament is shifted from Pakistan. England is the fourth country to give such a warning after Australia, New Zealand and South Africa shared their concerns over security in Pakistan. A final decision on the venue is scheduled to be made by tele- conference this week.

According to The Times, advice from the British Foreign Office about Pakistan, which is displayed on its website, reads: “There is a high threat from terrorism and sectarian violence throughout Pakistan.” Among the cities with a “heightened threat to Westerners” are the venues of Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore.

England players will be briefed by the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) before the start of the third Test against South Africa at Edgbaston Wednesday.

Sri Lanka is the designated back-up venue, but switching to Colombo, where there are also security concerns, may create apprehension and South Africa and England have been mooted as potential alternatives.

Reports from India say that the ICC is aware of a “credible external threat” to the competition and an ICC statement acknowledged that, while the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) provided a high level of security during the Asia Cup, which finished this month, concerns have been expressed about “potential for threats beyond the PCB’s control”.

If one of the concerned boards calls for a vote, seven of the ten full members — including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, who are not involved in the eight-team event — must back a switch. As ever in the world of ICC politics, the position of the Asian bloc will be central to the outcome.

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