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'Our CT chances depend on India coming here next year'

Pakistan's chances of hosting the Champions Trophy next year would depend a lot on whether India tours the country early next year for a Test and ODI series.

cricket Updated: Nov 13, 2008 11:04 IST

Pakistan's chances of hosting the Champions Trophy next year would depend a lot on whether India tours the country early next year for a Test and ODI series, a top PCB official said on Thursday.

Saleem Altaf, the chief operating officer of the board, said the ICC would be closely monitoring the progress of the Indian team's tour and implementation of the security plan during the tour before it meets to decide if the Champions Trophy should remain in Pakistan.

"The ICC has kept the Indian tour to Pakistan as a benchmark for deciding on the relocation of the Champions Trophy because of the security situation in the country," Altaf said.

The ICC has already postponed the Champions Trophy this year because of security concerns by some teams about playing in Pakistan.

Although the ICC has rescheduled the tournament to September and October in 2009 in Pakistan its executive board will take a final decision on the venue in March or June next year on the final venue.

Altaf said for the time being, there appeared to be no threat to the Indian team's scheduled Test tour to Pakistan but conceded it would only be final next month when the Indian government clears the tour.

Some doubts have crept in over whether India would tour Pakistan next year following the last minute cancellation of the Indian junior hockey team's tour to Pakistan this week.

"So far we are confident and our policy remains to first try to keep on convincing teams to play as scheduled in Pakistan which we will also ask the Indians to do and hope they will do so," he said. But the PCB official said if for some reason the Indians didn't get clearance to play in Pakistan, the PCB policy was to keep its other options open like playing at neutral venues.

"We do not disregard the option of shifting the series to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah or some other country. England is also willing to play hosts for the Test and one-dayers so we have options. The bottom line is that we need finances for the sport to survive and thrive in Pakistan and we can only earn money if we keep on playing international matches," Altaf said.

Meanwhile Rajeev Shukla, chairman of the finance committee of the Indian Cricket Board told a Pakistani news channel that so far the Indian board was comfortable with the tour.

"At the moment, as far as the BCCI is concerned the tour to Pakistan is on. We want to tour Pakistan but as per policy we have to get clearance from our internal and external ministries. We have already sent them a request and we expect them to respond in mid December after assessing the security situation in Pakistan," Shukla said.