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PCB rules out Musharraf’s intervention in Champions Trophy

By K. Hussain, IANS,

Karachi : The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wednesday ruled out a direct intervention from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to dissuade Australia, New Zealand and England from pulling out of the Champions Trophy over security fears.

A PCB spokesman said there were no plans to request Musharraf — the PCB’s chief patron — to get himself directly involved in the bid to save the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy, slated to be held in Pakistan in September.

The spokesman said the PCB is making all-out efforts to keep the Champions Trophy in Pakistan and has complete support of the authorities. “The government has given full assurance of its support for the Champions Trophy,” he said.

Cricketers from Australia, England and New Zealand have expressed concern over playing in Pakistan after a deadly suicide blast rocked Rawalpindi, one of three venues for the tournament to be played between Sept 11-28.

There have been speculations that the Champions Trophy could be shifted to either Sri Lanka, England or South Africa.

Following such reports, former Pakistan captain Aamer Sohail said that Musharraf must play a lead role and speak to his counterparts in the competing countries.

“I feel it is the duty of the president to speak to individual countries and convince them to come over and play in Pakistan where there are no safety problems,” Sohail said.

But the spokesman didn’t think it’s a good suggestion. “It’s not the president’s duty to get himself directly involved in this issue. The president is supporting the PCB and that’s enough for us.”

The International Cricket Council (ICC) earlier this month said it is awaiting a security report on the Asia Cup and is following a process during which they would not compromise the safety of the players.