Champions Trophy 2008 July 27, 2008

PCB not worried over possible pullouts

Cricinfo staff

Nasim Ashraf: 'It would be their loss to miss a mega event' © AFP

Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, has said he is not worried about the prospect of several international stars skipping the Champions Trophy in the country in September over security fears.

The ICC on Thursday confirmed that the tournament would stay in the country but players from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and England have reportedly expressed reservations about touring. If players still aren't convinced, cricket boards could be forced to send second-strength teams.

"If some players do not come it would not make any difference," Ashraf told AFP. "It would be their loss to miss a mega event."

Ashraf quoted the example of the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa last year which was a success despite some senior players, particularly from India, missing out. India, incidentally, went on to win the tournament.

"We have the example of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa last year where some top players did not feature in teams, but the event was still a huge success," said Ashraf.

Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the ICC, said that players cannot be forced to tour, nor would they or their boards be penalised as a result. He hoped the task force formed to assess the security ahead of the tournament would be able to convince players.

Pakistan had successfully hosted the recent Asia Cup in Karachi and Lahore and Ashraf implied that the security situation isn't as bad as reports suggest.

"I invite players' representatives of all the countries to come and see the ground realities," Ashraf said. "There are several Australian companies with their citizens working in Pakistan, which prove the fears are unfounded."