Entire cricket world is backing Pakistan: PCB

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Lahore, Jul 26 (UNI) Despite growing fears that some of the leading competitors might boycott this September Champions Trophy because of security fears, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is confident of hosting ''a highly successful'' eight-nation tournament in the strife-torn country.

PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi ruled out a ''boycott'' of the Champions Trophy saying that the entire cricket world is backing Pakistan.

''A consensus decision has been reached which says that the Champions Trophy will be held in Pakistan,'' Naghmi told 'The News'.

Naghmi said Pakistan was not expecting any team to boycott the tournament.

''The ICC has told us that it's 'a 100 percent' behind us. At yesterday's tele-conference, all competing nations agreed to take part in the tournament. In such a situation, we don't believe that any teams will boycott the game,'' he stressed.

However, Australia, New Zealand and England yesterday suggested that a storm is brewing that threatens to hit the Champions Trophy to be held from September 11 to 18 in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi.

There are fears that defending champion Australia might be forced to withdraw from the tournament with teams like New Zealand and England following suit.

He said the PCB was counting on the support of the ICC, adding that the game's governing body wants its second-most important one-day tournament to be a grand success.

''The ICC Chief executive (Haroon Lorgat) has told us that Pakistan will get all possible support to ensure a successful Champions Trophy,'' he said.

Naghmi said the ICC's task force which will be visiting Pakistan early next month will succeed in allaying all such fears.

''Every effort will be carried out to assuage concerns anybody has about playing in Pakistan,'' said Naghmi.

''We hope that the task force would allay the fears of all the individuals and, by overseeing our arrangements, keep us well prepared for a successful tournament,'' he added.

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