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Champions Trophy cut to two venues

The International Cricket Council has cut Rawalpindi as one of the venues for next month's Champions Trophy in Pakistan on security grounds.

cricket Updated: Aug 13, 2008 13:36 IST
Rizwan Ali

The International Cricket Council has cut Rawalpindi as one of the venues for next month's Champions Trophy in Pakistan on security grounds.

Rawalpindi was excluded because there had not been a chance to fully verify its security arrangements, leaving Lahore and Karachi to share all 15 matches.

Lahore will host eight matches including the opening match between Pakistan and the West Indies on Sept. 12 and the final, with seven to be held in Karachi.

"Concentration on two venues will provide extra level of comfort for all stakeholders," ICC chief executive Haroon Logart said in a statement on Wednesday.

"During the recently completed Asia Cup there were no fixtures at Rawalpindi and that didn't allow us the opportunity to check the security arrangements, so there has been no way for us to formulate an opinion on the venue."

Security concerns had been high on the agenda for this Champions Trophy, with players and boards from Australia, England and New Zealand raising doubts as to whether Pakistan should host the tournament. Sri Lanka was put on standby as an alternative venue before Pakistan was affirmed as host.

Logart headed an ICC delegation that met security officials in the federal capital Islamabad, getting assurances that there will be the requisite security provided.

"What is clear from our visit is that there is a huge desire within Pakistan, as well as significant resources, to turn that aim into a reality," Lorgat said.

Two ICC delegations will visit the concerned countries ahead of the Sept. 12-28 tournament to give assurance on security. Logart will lead the delegation to England, where South Africa's team is currently touring, while ICC general manager David Richardson will travel to Australia and New Zealand.

Chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) Tim May and Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson will be in New Zealand and Australia along with Richardson. ICC President David Morgan said "our desire is to ensure that every stakeholder is content with arrangements and is comfortable with the ICC Champions Trophy taking place in Pakistan". "We are committed to a safe and secure event in Pakistan. We believe these visits and the feedback we get from them will play a major role in us achieving those ends," he added. The biennial tournament is the second-biggest 50-over international tournament behind the World Cup.