"ICC to convince 'insecure feeling' foreign cricketers to play in Champs Trophy in Pak"

Abbottabad (Pakistan), July 27 : After it has been finalised that Pakistan will remain the venue of the ICC Champions Trophy (to be played in September), PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf has said that the ICC and its member cricket boards will try to convince the "angry" players from countries like England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, who had shown reluctance in playing in Pakistan citing security reasons.

The ICC's decision on Friday had annoyed these players who had more than once expressed reluctance to play in Pakistan in the wake of recent bombings in Islamabad and Karachi.

Nasim said that the ICC's "brave decision" to confirm Pakistan as the host of the mega event in fact "saved the cricket world from division", and that the decision was appreciated by all the major cricket boards.

He said that Pakistan did not know about the precise dates of ICC Task Force's visit to take stock of security situation in the country.

"However, we are ready for their inspections and confident as all the security observes have cleared the fears about any threat to players' lives inside Pakistan," the Daily Times quoted him as saying.

He requested the foreign players to visit Pakistan and assess the security situation themselves before giving their sweeping statements regarding the Trophy scheduled from September 12 to 28. "Pakistan will host this Mini World Cup with a passion to win it," added the chairman.

Ashraf said that the PCB would organise three practice matches on August 5, 7 and 9 to make the job of the national selection committee easy for selection of the teams for the Twenty20 Championship in Canada and Champions Trophy.

Story first published: Sunday, July 27, 2008, 15:26 [IST]
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