Pakistan news December 18, 2008

Champions Trophy prospects not to be affected

Cricinfo staff

The PCB has pointed out that India's pullout had nothing to do with security concerns © AFP

India may have cancelled their tour to Pakistan, but the decision is unlikely to affect the country's status as hosts of the ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled to be held in 2009, a senior Pakistani official said.

The tournament was postponed from the original September 2008 slot after a number of countries expressed reservations over touring Pakistan due to security concerns. It was then decided that a security review of India's tour in January would form the basis of another assessment before the tournament was cleared.

India's pulling out could affect the Champions Trophy but the PCB pointed out that security had nothing to do with the BCCI's decision. "It is too early to say anything about the Champions Trophy," Saleem Altaf, the PCB's chief operating officer, told Cricinfo. "India has not pulled out over security concerns. Their government has not given them clearance to tour."

The matter is likely to be discussed during an ICC board meeting in Perth on January 31. It is understood, however, that the ICC is likely to consider the security situation in Pakistan at that point in time, and will not be influenced by India's decision not to tour, which is being seen as a political decision.

Officials from both sides have played down the effect the decision - and deterioration in ties between the two countries - could have on the 2011 World Cup, to be jointly hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"It will not affect the 2011 World Cup as that is a different tournament," said Ratnakar Shetty, BCCI's chief administrative officer.

Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, also echoed a similar sentiment and argued that the tournament was still some way off. "I don't think it will be affected - it's far off," he told AFP.