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PCB shrugs off mounting security concerns

Lahore, Jun 21 (UNI) While touring Pakistan has emerged as a major threat to this year's Champions Trophy, the PCB has played down any such reports and said it is yet to hear from any of the national boards regarding their security concerns.

''We've been hearing through the media that there may be concerns among some of the players about the Champions Trophy,'' PCB Director of Cricket Operations Zakir Khan was quoted as saying by 'The News'.

''But we are not taking any of it seriously unless there is an official confirmation from the cricket boards of those countries,'' he added.

Players from countries like Australia, England and New Zealand are apprehensive about competing in the Champions Trophy in Pakistan and have even hinted their reluctance to tour the trouble-torn nation if the venue for the biennial event is not shifted .

Zakir pointed out that the Champions Trophy was an event run by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and it was up to the game's governing body to decide whether Pakistan was safe enough to host the the tournament.

There have also been reports that an Australian security consultant is heading to Pakistan next week to assess the situation. but Zakir denied any such move.

''I don't think there is a need for any security consultant from Australia to come here. The ICC (security) officials are already here and monitoring the situation. I believe that should be enough,'' he said.

Earlier, Australian captain Ricky Ponting had raised doubts about his team's participation in Champions Trophy.

''We don't know if we're going, and if we do go, we don't know if individuals are going to pull out,'' Ponting was quoted as saying by the Australian media.

''But what we know right now is, yes, there is some apprehension amongst some of the players and that was stated last summer. I don't think that would have changed until now,'' he added.

Australia had already postponed its March-April tour to Pakistan earlier this year citing security concerns.

Yesterday, England players' association also voiced doubts about whether the Champions Trophy in Pakistan in September should go ahead for safety reasons.

Meanwhile, the ICC had said it will continue to monitor the security situation in Pakistan before making a final call on the venue in its Executive Board meeting in Dubai on July 20.

Sri Lanka as been kept as a reserve venue in case the Champions Trophy has to be relocated from Pakistan.


Story first published: Saturday, June 21, 2008, 16:29 [IST]
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