Pakistan says lost Trophy after three teams baulked
CRICKET: LAHORE, Pakistan, Feb 7, 2009: The head of Pakistan's
cricket board said Friday he was forced to accept relocation of the
Champions Trophy after three countries refused to play here.
The International Cricket Council decided Sunday not to hold the 2009
Champions Trophy in Pakistan because of security fears in the troubled
country, where militant attacks have killed more than 1,500 people in 19
An alternative venue is expected to be announced at the next ICC
executive board meeting in April in Dubai.
"Three countries were not ready to tour Pakistan for the Champions
Trophy," said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt on his
return from the ICC meeting. He refused to reveal the names of the
Several teams have refused to tour Pakistan over safety concerns
since Islamabad joined the so-called global "war on terror" led by the
Pakistan has been providing logistical support to US forces who led
an invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan and has deployed its own troops
to fight Taliban and Al-Qaeda extremists hunkered down in the northwest
of the country.
Australia and the West Indies forced Pakistan to play in the neutral
venues of Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates in 2002.
New Zealand, Australia and India then refused to tour Pakistan or cut
short tours over security fears or political tensions.
The elite eight-nation Champions Trophy, originally scheduled for
September 2008, had been postponed by a year after South Africa pulled
out and Australia, England and New Zealand expressed reluctance to visit
over security fears.
Although Pakistan will not host the event, they will retain the
revenue that the country had been owed as hosts and get a
Butt said the priority for the PCB was to ensure Pakistan's national
side, which did not play a single Test last year after Australia
postponed a three-Test and five-match one-day series, gets to play some
cricket. "No one is ready to play in Pakistan, so by moving outside we
want to give our team some cricket," said Butt, confirming Pakistan will
play five one-dayers and a Twenty20 match against Australia in Abu Dhabi
"Cricket Australia was ready to send their team to Pakistan but their
government refused permission as they think the players can become
targets because the Australian army is fighting in Afghanistan," said
"We are helpless and that is not our fault."
Pakistan will host Sri Lanka for a two-Test series later this month
after last month's one-day series, before playing Australia in