England emerges as a favourite to host Champions Trophy

July 16th, 2008 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, July 16 (IANS) England has emerged as a favourite to host the Champions Trophy in September if the tournament it is moved out of Pakistan because of security reasons. According to The Australian, representatives from the top eight cricket nations competing in the tournament, along with players’ associations and security experts, will be take part in the International Cricket Council (ICC) briefing in Dubai Sunday to consider safety in Pakistan.

Earlier, South Africa was considered the most likely reserve venue but there have been some concerns that it might not be able to hold the tournament at such a short notice at the beginning of its season.

England has made a big impression with its organisation of next year’s World Twenty20 Championship, selling out virtually the whole tournament, and September is the end of its season, with all cricket facilities prepared and available.

While the six-nation Asia Cup in Pakistan this month was incident free, the recent terrorist bomb blasts in Islamabad and Karachi have reinforced the view that the ICC tournament is likely to be moved.

Pakistan and the Asian countries will use the success of the Asia Cup as a major reason to keep the tournament in the country but Australia and England in particular have fears that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will make them greater targets.

Australia and England are members of the “coalition of the willing” fighting in both countries.

Concerns are not helped by the tournament starting on September 11, the anniversary of the New York terrorist attacks.

Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed that its general manager of cricket operations, Michael Brown, would attend Sunday’s meeting.

CA claimed that England cricket board security adviser Reg Dickason will also be attending.

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