Champions Trophy 2008 July 30, 2008

ICC task force to visit Pakistan after August 14

Cricinfo staff

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Inzamam offers to help
  • Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, said he was willing to talk to players who are unsure of visiting the country. "Pakistan is a safe country and we are capable of hosting the event in a befitting and peaceful manner," he told AFP. "If a player has any concern, I am happy to talk to them.
  • "As someone who has played at the highest level, I would never advise cricketers to put their lives or careers at stake. But I firmly believe Pakistan is a safe place to play cricket and the players should trust the ICC, the PCB and the Pakistan government.
  • "Pakistan is a sport loving country and by pulling out, they will be denying the opportunity to millions of local supporters who want to see them in action. There are always two sides to the picture, and I think the players need to see the other side of the picture to get to the bottom of the reasons for these acts of violence. They are not attempted or targeted at cricketers."
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The ICC-appointed task force to oversee the security situation in Pakistan ahead of the Champions Trophy will carry out its inspection after August 14th, when the country celebrates its Independence Day.

"The ICC task force is due to visit us after August 14 and we hope that it's a positive tour that would pave the way for a peaceful Champions Trophy," PCB spokesman Mansoor Suhail told The task force comprises eight members, including David Morgan, the ICC president, Sharad Pawar, the ICC vice-president, IS Bindra, ICC's principal advisor, Tim May, the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA), representatives from broadcaster ESPN-Star Sports and the ICC's security consultants.

The task force had been set up last week, when the ICC decided to go ahead with the Champions Trophy in Pakistan despite concerns over security from the boards of Australia, England and New Zealand. Player associations slammed the move, and said there could be instances of individuals pulling out of the event. The PCB, though, was confident of hosting the tournament successfully, as it did with the six-nation Asia Cup in June.

Tim May, who in June said nothing had changed in Pakistan since Australia postponed their tour in March-April, said, "I will go to Pakistan with an open mind. We would have made significant progress if the players are comfortable with what we see in Pakistan. All the stakeholders need to be satisfied, and that's what matters."

May's statement was hailed by Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman. "We welcome May's statement and hope that he will tour us with an open mind. It shows May's professionalism and right approach," he told Dawn. "I am confident that perceptions will change once the task force visits Pakistan and there will be a positive feedback on the security of Pakistan."

The tournament, featuring the top eight ODI teams, will be held from September 11-28 in the cities of Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi.