Tuesday, August 19, 2008

PCB does not want Champions Trophy moved

The resignation of Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf has added another element to the Champions Trophy equation.

The Pakistan Cricket Board is adamant the Champions Trophy will not be moved despite the real threat of teams pulling out of next month's tournament. The ICC said in London on Tuesday the safety and security situation in the country was "satisfactory", but before the announcement the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) said it would not be recommending its players attend the event.

England, South Africa and New Zealand are also waiting to make a decision and the attitude of the countries has irritated the PCB. Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, said he was "more than disappointed" by the position taken by Australia.

"This has gone beyond logic," Naghmi said in the Age. "Their position, I don't understand -- the ICC has determined that Pakistan is safe, they have various sources to judge the security measures in place.

"If [Cricket Australia] has other security information which is negative, why don't they share it with us? Why don't they make us wise? They have not told us of any concerns, they have been dealing with the ICC. How come they are not willing to trust the ICC? Where are they getting their security information from? They won't tell us, their security information is dubious."

Cricket Australia told the paper their findings were "distinctively unique" and specific to the Australian team. "There are also particular interpretations different organisations will make of the information," a spokesman said.

Cricket Australia's position on Pakistan has not changed since the meeting with the ICC task force in Melbourne on Friday. They will wait for a decision from the ICC, which could come in Dubai on Wednesday, before making up their minds.

Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf resigned on Monday and Heath Mills, the executive manager of the New Zealand players' association, said the development added to the concerns. "The change may mean more assessments of the situation but time is running out to stage the event or move it elsewhere," Mills said in the Press.

Sri Lanka is the back-up venue for the tournament, but the PCB does not want a late switch. "It will not be moved from Pakistan," Naghmi said.

Australia consider Sri Lanka a safer touring option as there are no specific threats against them. "We've discussed this with the experts, who acknowledge that westerners are targets in Pakistan, whereas the biggest danger in Sri Lanka appears to be collateral damage," Paul Marsh, the ACA chief executive, said in the Australian. "Certainly, we will need a detailed security assessment of Sri Lanka, should the tournament be moved there, before making any decisions."