ICC appoints SA as alternative Champions Trophy venue

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Dubai, Jun 28 (UNI) Despite assurances that Pakistan remains the first choice to host the Champions Trophy, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has put South Africa on standby as a possible venue for the biennial mega event.

''South Africa could hold the Champions Trophy in case Pakistan or Sri Lanka can't,'' an ICC source said.

''But it must be stressed that Pakistan remains our first choice and a lot of work has already been done to ensure the tournament is held there,'' he added.

Johannesburg, Centurion and Potchefstroom will be the venues if the tournament is moved to South Africa.

The Champions Trophy, the biggest one-day tournament this year featuring the top eight Test nations - India, Pakistan, Australia, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the West Indies - is due to be held in Pakistan from September 11 to 28.

But the volatile security scenario in the country has prompted Australia and England to voice apprehensions regarding the safety of their players.

A final decision on the host nation will be taken at the ICC's annual meeting which begins here tomorrow.

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