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March 6, 2009
Speaking to the BBC, Morgan said that ahead of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka series the usual checks had been undertaken. "Our people were in touch with the Pakistan board and had assurances of presidential level security. We were satisfied as were the Sri Lankan board. Sadly, it would seem it was not as expected."
Asked about comments made by Pakistan board chairman Ijaz Butt in which he claimed the security was adequate, Morgan was non committal. "I have spoken with Ijaz Butt and I think his views are well known," Morgan said. "I also spoke with Mahela Jayawardene [Sri Lanka's captain] and I had his account of security, and also Chris Broad, and I think it would be wrong for me to comment on widely-differing accounts."
He said that a full report would be ready by the time the ICC executive next met in Dubai on April 17. "I am included to have representatives of the two teams to give first-hand accounts to us when we meet," he added.
Morgan dismissed suggestions that the ICC should take responsibility for all security. "I doubt that could be put into effect … for bilateral tours the duty of care lies with the employer and it's the home board that employs the players. The ICC only becomes involved when host and visitor disagree about security."
Butt, also speaking to the BBC, continued to vehemently deny Broad's comments that the local security had left the officials to be "sitting ducks". Broad's statement, he said, was "totally wrong, fabricated … no truth in it".
"We had three ODIs and a Test with no problems," he continued. "There is no way one can predict a terrorist attack. There is a high-powered investigation going on and when more details come in we will forward them to the ICC."
Asked about comments from Sri Lankan players that supported Broad's comments, Butt insisted that they had initially maintained that everything that could be done had, but had "later had a change of mind".
He also dismissed suggestions from a number of witnesses, including Muttiah Muralitharan and Broad, that the Pakistan bus was several minutes behind the main convey at the time of the attack. "Nonsense," he said, "it was there and one of the security staff informed them there was firing and they turned back."
Morgan and Butt did agree about the need to ensure Pakistan did not become isolated. "We will need to convince people they can come here," Butt said. "Our public is cricket crazy."
"We are all agreed we must do anything possibly to allow Pakistan to continue to play international cricket away from home or on neutral territory until we are able to play back there," Morgan said. "It would be wrong for them to become isolated."
Morgan deflected questions about the hosting of the 2011 World Cup. "We would need to make a decision on venues 15 months ahead of the start and we would have to be certain it could be held in the subcontinent within 12 months of the start. The organising group are well on with the assessment of what has to be done to produce and safe, secure and successful tournament."
Attempts to calm the situation were not helped by Javed Miandad who called for the ICC to ban Broad from officiating. "The ICC must ban Broad from standing in any matches," he said. "He has intentionally tried to damage the image of Pakistan and isolate it as a cricket nation. He is twisting things. He is trying to scare away teams from playing in Pakistan."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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