The ICC has chosen a special date for its executive board to hold a meeting and discuss the future of Champions Trophy. The fate of the event pushed back because of security reasons will be talked about on 9/11. This is, of course, coincidental, assured sources in the ICC headquarters in Dubai.
This meeting will be followed by a more important one in March, when it will actually be decided whether Pakistan can at all host the event it badly wants to keep cricket ‘alive’ in the country. “The situation will be reviewed in March and the ICC executive body will decide whether to keep the event in Pakistan or shift it,” said an official in Dubai, who didn’t want to be identified.
This may upset the Pakistan Cricket Board and fans there, but this is not exactly a revelation. The statement announcing the deferment of the event from September 12, 2008, to October, 2009, clearly stated: “Pakistan will retain the right to host the tournament but it was agreed that if other members continued to express reservations over issues of safety and security, the ICC board would have the right to decide about the tournament’s location.”
Thursday’s meeting, therefore, is less significant in comparison to what is scheduled for March. “It’s the ICC’s responsibility to assure safety to all participating teams in any event the it conducts, like the World Cup, Champions Trophy, World T20 Championship,” said the source. “The ICC has its own security experts who work in collaboration with the local intelligence agencies. Their assessments will be discussed in March before taking a decision.”
So on Thursday, the executive board won’t do much apart from looking at dates in October 2009 to accommodate the three-week event in its calendar, which has already been drawn. Fortunately, October 2009 isn’t too crowded with Australia touring India for seven ODIs and Zimbabwe playing Bangladesh.
In all likelihood, the board members will not lose sleep over dates. But they will begin a countdown to the D-day in March. And so will Pakistan.