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ICC to rejuvenate, re-brand Champions Trophy

Aware that the Champions Trophy is gradually losing its relevance, the ICC on Monday said it had plans to "rejuvenate and re-brand" the tournament which features the top-eight one-day teams.

cricket Updated: Jul 06, 2009 14:41 IST

Aware that the Champions Trophy is gradually losing its relevance, the ICC today said it had plans to "rejuvenate and re-brand" the tournament which features the top-eight one-day teams.

Several former cricketers have ridiculed the biennial event with Australian spin legend Shane Warne calling it a "joke".

Other cricketers argue that the tournament is no longer necessary after the advent of Twenty20 cricket and the Indian Premier League and feel it crams the already crowded calendar.

However, ICC President David Morgan said the game's governing body had no plans of scrapping it.

"We have no plans to scrap the Champions Trophy but we do have plans to rejuvenate and re-brand the event," Morgan told PTI.

"When it is played in Johannesburg and Pretoria in October, it would be a top-eight event and I believe it would be hugely successful," he added.

Morgan said restricting the event to just two neighbouring cities in South Africa would benefit it and would also save the players from tiresome travelling.

"It's an important top-eight event over a short period of time in a single city environment. Johannesburg and Pretoria are two different cities but playing ground Wanderers and Centurion are quite close. For the players, it's compact, travel is minimum," he said.

Matches were taken away from Pakistan after a series of terror attacks in the country, including the one on the Sri Lankan cricket team, which left six of the visiting players injured.

Morgan also ruled out organising Pakistan's share of matches at a neutral venue, an idea floated by the Pakistan Cricket Board, making it clear that the games would be shared by the remaining three co-hosts.

"The ICC Commercial Board has decided that all the matches scheduled originally in Pakistan would be hosted by other co-hosts, that is Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India," he said.

Asked what the ICC would do in case of prolonged legal battle with the PCB, Morgan said, "Well, I can't discuss that at this stage."

Pakistan is also not too happy with the draft Future Tours Programme (FTP) and has accused India and Australia of sidelining it by not scheduling any bilateral series.

But Morgan said there was no such intent on BCCI's part and the Indian Board was tied down by certain restrictions.

"BCCI clearly has some restrictions on it in playing bilateral tours in Pakistan. What I'm concerned about is that a cricketing nation, as powerful as Pakistan, should not be isolated", he said.

"I firmly believe the ICC should do everything possible that FTP puts Pakistan in its rightful place as a powerful and influential cricketing nations," Morgan assured.

Morgan said international cricket is incomplete without Pakistan.

"We cannot ignore the fact that Pakistan has produced world's some of the most talented and attractive players over the last 20 years and it's inconceivable that international cricket could prosper without Pakistan playing its full part," he said.

Asked when he expected teams to agree to tour Pakistan, where security has been a perennial concern, the 71-year-old administrator said, "Not in the foreseeable future."

"There has to be a significant change in Pakistan for the ICC and the visiting cricketing nations to be convinced that Pakistan is the place to play cricket.