x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pakistan gets ICC thumbs up

The International Cricket Council has decided to keep September's Champions Trophy in Pakistan despite security concerns.

The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Naseem Ashraf addresses a news conference in Lahore.
The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Naseem Ashraf addresses a news conference in Lahore.

DUBAI // The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to keep September's Champions Trophy in Pakistan despite security concerns, it announced yesterday. An ICC spokesperson said: "The decision is that the event remains in Pakistan." The decision was taken after Australia, England and New Zealand had led calls for a switch over player safety after bomb attacks in Pakistan over the past several months.

"The ICC has decided to appoint a special task force which will visit Pakistan and ensure all the security requirements and recommendations made by the ICC security consultants are implemented for the tournament," the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Nasim Ashraf said. The eight-team tournament will be held from Sept 11-28 with Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi scheduled to stage games. The ICC called the teleconference after a deadlock last Sunday when officials had earlier met to talk over the concerns.

Although the ICC security experts were satisfied with the PCB's arrangements at this month's Asia Cup final in Karachi, they still had concerns. Pakistan has been hit by a series of suicide bombings this year and Australia postponed their planned tour of the country in March. While the situation had eased since February's general election, eight people were killed in an attack in Islamabad on the night of the Asia Cup final.

But Ashraf said India had strongly backed Pakistan and, in the end, it was a consensus decision to keep the event there. "I am really thankful to the Indian cricket board," added Ashraf."We are confident of hosting a successful event and we will make sure we have the best security arrangements for the event, which would be monitored by the special task force." * Reuters