Question mark on Champions Trophy but PCB still optimistic

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Lahore, Jul 8 (UNI) The recent series of bombings in Pakistan have once again raised a big question mark over the fate of this September's Champions Trophy but the PCB remains optimistic that the event will be held as per scheduled.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) was yesterday forced to announce that it would move the elite six-nation tournament out of Pakistan if there was any threat of violence.

That followed reports from Australia that the ICC is now under significant pressure to relocate the Champions Trophy to South Africa, or risk teams including Australia, England and New Zealand boycotting the tournament.

However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) still believes that the tournament will be held in the country.

''We know that the bombings have come at the wrong time,'' conceded PCB's chief operating officer, Shafqat Naghmi.

''But we also know that this violence is not directed at any sports teams. We are confident that the ICC will continue backing us over the Champions Trophy because of our assurance to provide fool-proof security cover for the Champions Trophy,'' he said.

A suicide bombing in Islamabad on Sunday night when Pakistan was hosting the Asia Cup final between India and Sri Lanka in Karachi has come as a huge setback. Just 24 hours later, Karachi, one of the venues of the Champions Trophy, was also rocked by a series of bomb blasts yesterday.

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