South Africa ready to host Champions Trophy

July 9th, 2008 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, July 9 (IANS) South African cricket officials say their board is ready to host the Champions Trophy if Pakistan is declared unsafe by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for going ahead with the biennial event. Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola said his country can stage the event, scheduled to begin September 11, because they have enough time to prepare. Johannesburg, Centurion and Potchefstroom are considered the likely venues for the tournament.

“If requested by the International Cricket Council (ICC), and we agree on the terms and conditions of hosting the tournament, we will. ICC host agreements are very onerous, so you don’t want to accept certain terms if you don’t have time to do everything they ask for. We have to sit down with them and go through everything, and negotiate new terms. We have only one or two months to prepare,” Majola was quoted as saying by The Age.

“We have the ability to do it … I can’t say we are applying for it, we’re not. We will wait for the ICC to approach us.”

The ICC is yet to take a final decision but after Monday’s serial blasts in Karachi, Pakistan’s chances of hosting the Champions Trophy look bleak.

With players in Australia, New Zealand and England making their reservations clear on touring Pakistan, the ICC is under immense pressure to make a decision.

Sri Lanka has also volunteered as an alternative venue, but again the island nation is also not a safe place due to the long standing ethnic conflict, which has claimed many lives over a decade.

The chief executive of the Sri Lankan board, Duleep Mendis, insisted Sri Lanka was well-placed as an alternative host, and pointed to the imminent tour by India as evidence the country was safe.

“The venues are ready because we are going to stage the Indian tour as well here, it is just a matter of putting things together. ICC will give sufficient time, if, by some chance, things are not going to happen in Pakistan,” Mendis said.

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