Asia Cup success proves Pakistan is safe - Ashraf
The successful organisation of the Asia Cup will boost Pakistan's chances of hosting the ICC Champions Trophy in September this year, the board chairman Nasim Ashraf said.
"All kinds of security arrangements will be made for the Champions Trophy," Ashraf said after returning Thursday from the ICC's executive board meeting in Dubai. Sri Lanka is the alternate host for the Champions Trophy in September if a final security report within 10 days of the Asia Cup finishing on July 6 demonstrates that Pakistan is unsafe.
"It's a standard process of the ICC to have a backup venue," Ashraf said. "I was assured in the ICC's meeting by all the members that they intend to participate in the Champions Trophy in Pakistan.
"We are very proud the Asia Cup is organised in such a nice and peaceful manner," Ashraf said. "It proves that Pakistan is a country where cricket can be played safely."
New Zealand are also set to tour Pakistan for a short three-match ODI series in August, further enhancing Pakistan's chances. Ashraf met with Justin Vaughan, CEO New Zealand Cricket, in Dubai where the PCB chief was assured the tour would go ahead.
"New Zealand will arrive on August 20 and the series begins from August 24," Ashraf said. "Two matches will be played in Faisalabad and the third in Multan.
Australia postponed a tour of Pakistan in March after several bomb attacks in the wake of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination in December 2007, and several Australian and New Zealand players have already indicated they may pull out of the tournament rather than play in Pakistan.
Ashraf also appreciated the ICC's decision to change the 2006 Oval Test result from a forfeit win for England to a draw. "The ICC and especially the ECB showed tremendous generosity in reversing a bad decision," Ashraf said. "The decision shows that if humans can make mistakes it can be corrected by humans."
Darrell Hair, the umpire at the centre of the storm, was later banned from the ICC elite umpire's panel and only returned after completing a rehabilitation program last September, when he also dropped a claim of racial discrimination against the ICC in the British High Court. Ashraf said that he was not sure whether Hair would officiate in the Champions Trophy. "I leave it to the wisdom of the ICC to do the right thing," he said.