PCB hopes to assuage CT security fears at ICC Annual Conference

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Lahore, Jul 4 (UNI) The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is confident that a ''reassuring presentation'' to be made at the ICC Annual Conference in Dubai today will help put an end to the uncertainty surrounding this September's Champions Trophy.

PCB's chief operating officer, Shaftaq Nagmi told 'The News' yesterday that the ICC officials have made the presentation based on reports received from security experts who have visited Pakistan in the recent past.

''We believe that it's a positive presentation that should assuage any security fears in Pakistan during the Champions Trophy,'' Nagmi said.

He said cricket chiefs from the competing Champions Trophy nations will be attending the annual conference.

''It (the conference) will be a good platform to wipe out any fears related to the Champions Trophy,'' said Naghmi. ''We have time again said that Pakistan is a completely safe place for visiting sports persons and tomorrow's presentation will give a similar message,'' he added.

Pakistan are making arrangements for the successful hosting of the eight-nation Champions Trophy 'the biggest ICC event after the quadrennial World Cup'.

However, the clouds of uncertainty have been hanging over the event following a report from Australia, New Zealand and England that several of their star players were considering boycotting the Champions Trophy because of security concerns.

Australia, who boycotted their tour to Pakistan earlier this year, have been quite open in their reluctance and their skipper Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds have voiced their apprehensions.

There have been reports that most of the leading Australian cricketers would pull out of the event if Pakistan do go on to host it.

However, Pakistani officials remain confident that the tournament will be held in Pakistan as scheduled.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gillani on Wednesday night promised to back the PCB for the Champions Trophy.

UNI XC CS RAR PM1645

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