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PCB hopeful of hosting Champions Trophy

cricket Updated: Jul 09, 2008 12:40 IST

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A series of bomb blasts in the country notwithstanding, the Pakistan Cricket Board is hoping the International cricket Council (ICC) will not shift the Champions Trophy from Pakistan.

PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf said in a statement that he was confident ICC will maintain its current position and let Pakistan hold the elite tournament in September.

"We are hopeful... Because cricket and sports has never been the target of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and players had always been safe in Pakistan," Ashraf said.

Ashraf's statement comes two days after the new Chief Executive of the ICC Haroon Lorgat made it clear the ICC would not compromise on the safety of players and officials, taking part in the tournament.

A suicide blast in Islamabad killed around 19 people on Sunday when the Asia Cup final was being held in Karachi prompting Lorgat to issue his statement.

Police are still probing the six explosions that rocked Karachi on Monday, injuring 50 people.

Sources, who are aware of the developments, said PCB was doing its best to keep on lobbying among the member countries to ensure the ICC did not move away the Champions Trophy from Pakistan.

"But even Pakistan can only do things to a certain extent after that it is out of their hands," one source told PTI.

Zakir Khan, PCB Director of cricket operations, also said that the recent blasts had not helped Pakistan's cause.

"The truth is even the Board now fears the worst as far as the tournament hosting is concerned. These things are not helpful and they disturb our plans.

"It is difficult to convince others come and play in Pakistan. We know it is safe and we can provide the best security which has been provided by the successful hosting of the Asia Cup but convincing others becomes difficult," Khan had said in an interview.

The Champions Trophy is due to be held in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi from September 11.

Though PCB has the full support of the government to host the Champions Trophy but sources said the PCB was worried about the feedback the embassies of Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa would give on the security situation in the country to their governments.

If a foreign embassy tells its government it is not safe to play somewhere there is nothing anyone can do.

The PCB is keeping its fingers crossed that the reports of the security consultants of the ICC and the expert hired by the Australian, New Zealand and English cricket boards would clear the way for the tournament to be held on schedule in Pakistan.

They were in Pakistan and briefed completely on the security arrangements.

"Frankly speaking their reports are going to make or break the event for us," one PCB official said.