Holders Australia could pull out of the Champions Trophy after the International Cricket Council decided to go ahead with the tournament in Pakistan.
Holders Australia and other key nations could pull out of the Champions Trophy after the International Cricket Council decided to go ahead with the tournament in Pakistan, officials said Friday.
The Australian and New Zealand players’ associations called on their country’s governing bodies not to send teams to Pakistan, while England
players will be asked if they want to travel.
The ICC said on Thursday it would appoint a commission to ensure security at the September 11 to 28 showpiece but it was not enough to quash concerns about the threat of Islamic militant attacks in
“We’ve gone through this with a fine-tooth comb and we don’t think the risk to go to Pakistan is acceptable. I am very hopeful Cricket Australia will make that decision,” Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) chief executive Paul Marsh said.
“It would be unfair to put that decision back on the players and it would be inconsistent to put that decision back on players given what’s happened in the past.”
Marsh said the ACA was “disappointed” with the ICC’s decision and was still seeking clarity on the security task force proposed by the sport’s global governing body.
In New Zealand, cricket players’ association president Heath Mills said all of the players that he had spoken to were uncomfortable about travelling to Pakistan.
“We’re very disappointed by the decision out of the ICC,” Mills told Radio New Zealand.
“There’s been a strong view that we don’t think Pakistan is a safe work place for the players and our position hasn’t changed,” Mills said.
“It’s our strong recommendation to the players that they don’t travel to Pakistan at this point in time.”
Governing organisation New Zealand Cricket said it was talking to the players’ association and its own board about safety concerns.
The South African players’ union voiced “serious concern” over the safety situation in Pakistan.
South Africa Cricketers Association’s chief executive Tony Irish said his organisation wanted to work with Cricket South Africa before taking a final stance on whether the Proteas should participate or not.
“It is premature to suggest that we have pulled out,” Irish said.
“We have serious concerns and we want to work with Cricket South Africa about whether the team will go or not.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it would consult key figures in the squad to see if they were still willing to make the trip.
If the players opt not to go, the ECB would have to decide whether to send an under-strength team or pull out of the event entirely.
“Following the decision of the ICC, the ECB will be having further extensive discussions with a number of key stakeholders—including England players and Team England—to determine our decision,” an ECB
“Once those discussions are concluded, the ECB will be in a position to make a clear decision.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board tried to allay fears over security, saying on Friday that they were more dedicated than ever to staging a safe tournament.
“Yes, we are relieved and more focused now that a decision has finally been made, although we always had confidence in the wisdom of the ICC board,” said PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi.
“I hope the task force would allay the fears of all the individuals and, by overseeing our arrangements, keep us well prepared for a successful event,” Naghmi said.
The eight-member task force, headed by ICC president David Morgan, is likely to visit Pakistan next month.
Meanwhile, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said Friday that the ruling body would be powerless to prevent withdrawals.
“We cannot force players to attend. All we can do is make them confident about the measures taken in regard to safety and security and on that basis hope they participate,” said Lorgat.
Australia postponed a full tour of Pakistan in March and April this year due to the security situation.
However, they agreed to reschedule the tour in two visits—one-dayers in 2009 and Tests in 2010.
New Zealand cut short a tour of Pakistan in May 2002 after a bomb blast outside their hotel in the southern city of Karachi killed 19 people, including 14 French naval staff. - AFP