Champions Trophy 2008 July 21, 2008

We are confident and prepared as alternate host: SLC

Cricinfo staff

Duleep Mendis: "We had confirmed our name as alternate hosts some time back and we stand by that." © Getty Images

Sri Lanka, the official alternate venue for the Champions Trophy, is "very confident" of staging the tournament within the short preparation time available if Pakistan, the official host, is ruled out by the ICC board due to security reasons, Duleep Mendis, Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) chief executive has said.

"We are confident that we can hold the tournament within the short span of time if it's not possible to hold it in Pakistan," Mendis told Cricinfo. "We had confirmed our name as alternate hosts some time back and we stand by that. We are prepared logistically and on the security front and are very confident about hosting the tournament, if it comes to us."

Mendis said that speculation about South Africa or England being asked to step in as alternate hosts was "unnecessary" at this point of time, as "Sri Lanka is the official alternate venue".

The ICC's executive board is expected to take a decision this week on Pakistan's status as host after the governing body conducted a security briefing on Sunday for board officials of the eight participating countries, broadcast executives, and players' association representatives.

An official who attended that meeting pegged Pakistan's chances of hosting the tournament, starting on September 11, at "50-50" and told Cricinfo that players from Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa expressed concerns over playing in that country due to the prevailing security situation.

The ICC maintained that Pakistan will remain the host till the executive board takes a final decision and Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, confirmed at a press conference after the briefing in Dubai that Sri Lanka is the back-up venue.

The security situation in Sri Lanka was a subject of focus two years ago when the South African team pulled out of a one-day tournament following a blast that occurred a few kilometers away from their hotel in Colombo. However, England toured Sri Lanka for three Tests and five ODIs in 2007-08. "Sri Lanka is the reserve location for the tournament agreed by the ICC Board but at this stage the event is scheduled to go ahead in Pakistan and the ICC will not indulge in speculation about what may or may not have to happen at any alternate venue in order for it to be ready," said an ICC spokesperson.

Sri Lanka is currently hosting the Indian team for a Test and one-day series that ends on August 29.