Champions Trophy venue will be decided in next 72 hours: ICC

By Aroonim Bhuyan, IANS,

Dubai : Pakistan will know whether it will get to host this year’s Champions Trophy as scheduled in September within the next 72 hours, according to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

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“There is an attempt to convene a teleconference board meeting to confirm the decision (on whether to have Pakistan as the host of the tournament) and to share with the board the contents of the security briefing,” ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said at a press conference after the world body listened to a security briefing here Sunday on the security situation in Pakistan during the Asia Cup there last month.

Asked when that teleconference is going to take place, he told IANS: “That’s probably between the next 48 to 72 hours.”

The representatives of all the participating countries – except Sri lanka, host broadcaster ESPN STAR Sports and players’ representatives were briefed on the security situation in Pakistan by the ICC here.

In the wake of recent bomb blasts in Pakistan, English, Australian and New Zealand cricketers have expressed their concern on touring the strife-torn country.

Asked what exactly was the nature of the security report, the newly appointed ICC chief executive said: “The gist of it (the report) was positive in the sense that the security that was implemented for the final (of the Asia Cup in Karachi) was what the consultants were expecting. So, it was a pretty positive report from the point of view that on the ground in the final, it was a very good security plan that was put in place.”

Lorgat admitted that a fair amount of concern was expressed during the course of the meeting Sunday and the security consultants were subjected to a lot of questioning.

“I would be surprised if too many concerns were not expressed because of the very nature of the debate around the security and safety would be one that would be broached from an aspect that expresses concerns,” he said.

“There was a fair amount of questioning. The consultants were certainly interrogated in terms of their views on the safety and security of the competition… and there were some concerns that were put on the table.”

Replying to a specific question on whether Pakistan’s chances of hosting would be affected because of the incident of bomb blast on the eve of the Asia Cup final, he said that was precisely the kind of concerns that were raised.

“That’s the kind of incident that (creates) concern. I think that’s one of the factors that we will take into account. There will be external threats like that but nothing from the (security) report indicates that there are specific threats against cricketers,” Lorgat said.

According to him, in case Pakistan lost its right to this the tournament, Sri Lanka would be the alternate venue.

“The board had previously made a decision that the alternate to Pakistan would be Sri Lanka. And that’s where we are,” the South African said.

When asked whether there was any talk about shifting of the dates of the tournament in case there was any problem with Pakistan hosting he tournament, he said: “No. At this stage, it is all systems go, it is a case of Pakistan being the host country and the tournament starting as it was planned. And there is no talk of shifting dates or shifting hosts for that matter.”

Summarising Sunday’s meeting, he said: “It was a pretty open meeting, it was a pretty constructive discussion. People were free to express what they were feeling uncomfortable about.”