PCB seeking to move Champions Trophy to 'appropriate date'

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Lahore, Oct 23 (UNI) Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has asked ICC to postpone next year's Champions Trophy from September to October to avoid it clashing with the holy month of Ramadan.

However, the move has been opposed by India and three other Test playing countries -- England, West Indies and New Zealand -- as their teams will be engaged in other international assignments in October according to the ICC Future Tour Programme.

PCB's Chief Operating Officer (COO), Shafqat Naghmi said the board is making efforts to move the Champions trophy to an 'appropriate date' so to avoid the month-long fast which may affect the attendance for the matches.

''As things stand, the Champions Trophy will be played in September next year at a time when we will be observing the holy month of Ramadan,'' the COO said.

''We do not believe it would be an appropriate time to hold such a mega event and have informed the ICC about it,'' he added.

Naghmi has raised the issue at a chief executives' meeting in South Africa last month but the idea of having the Champions Trophy in October was shot down because of a packed international schedule.

Expressing difficulty to stage the matches with full capacity during the holy month Naghmi said, ''September doesn't suit us because it would be difficult to guarantee attendance for matches during Ramadan.'' Meanwhile, it was not the only problem faced by PCB at this moment. Their officials were also worrying over the timing of the matches as they want to avoid matches during the Iftar time.

''We don't want to have action on the ground at a time when spectators and the people watching the matches on television are busy breaking their fast. I don't think it would be appropriate,'' Naghmi said.

Naghmi, however, was hopeful that with mutual consent, Pakistan and the ICC will work out dates for the Champions Trophy in October.

''For the Champions Trophy to be really successful, it is important that we find best possible dates for the event and are trying our best to do it,'' he was quoted by 'The News'.

Though well aware of FTP's punishing schedule which might not allow much room to manoeuver the dates of the matches, Naghmi and his fellow PCB officials are working on plans to host the event even in Ramadan.

''We might work out match timings with the innings break coming at Iftar time,'' he said.

Pakistan is hosting the trophy for the first time since it came into existence in 1998, when it was known as ICC Knock Out tournament. It changed its name to Champions Trophy in 2002.

The ICC Champions Trophy, also known as the Mini World Cup, is the second most important ODI contest after the World Cup.


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