ICC decides to hold Champions Trophy in Pakistan

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New Delhi, Jul 24 (UNI) Ending a month-long speculation, the International Cricket Council (ICC) today decided to hold the September Champions Trophy in Pakistan as scheduled.

The decision was taken by the ICC's executive board following a teleconference after England, Australia and New Zealand led calls for a switch over player safety.

''The ICC has decided to appoint a special task force which will visit Pakistan and ensure that all the security requirements and recommendations made by the ICC security consultants are implemented for the tournament,'' PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf told a news conference.

Speaking on the occassion Ashraf said India had strongly backed Pakistan and in the end it was a consensus decision to keep the event there.

''I am really thankful to the Indian cricket board for extending us support in convincing everyone that the tournament should be held in Pakistan,'' added Ashraf.

''We are confident of hosting a successful event and we will make sure we have the best security arrangements for the event, which would be monitored by the special task force.'' Indian board was firmly behind their Pakistani counterpart on this issue right from the beginning.

India is leading the group of Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the hosts, who are determined that the event needs to go ahead as scheduled. They believe that the security briefing last Sunday by the ICC for officials of the eight participating nations, broadcast executives and players' representatives, has not pointed to any specific threat and has been ''positive'' about Pakistan's status.

Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi are scheduled to stage the Champions Trophy games scheduled to be held from September 11-28 .

UNI RKM PDT KN1956

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