Pakistan keep Champions Trophy
The International Cricket Council have confirmed Pakistan will host the ICC Champions Trophy in September as planned despite fears over security.
The decision was taken during an ICC Board teleconference on Thursday, during which the Pakistan Cricket Board offered assurances over the safety of competitors.
Concerns were raised over Pakistan’s suitability to stage the tournament in the wake of a spate of bombings in the country, the most recent coming in June when a suicide bomber killed 15 people in the capital Islamabad.
An ICC task force will head to Pakistan prior to the tournament to evaluate security measures in the cities that will play host to matches - Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi.
An ICC statement read: “The ICC board today held a teleconference to discuss the location for this year’s ICC Champions Trophy, at the end of which it reiterated its decision of 2006 to stage the event in Pakistan.
“In arriving at that position the board considered various security reports and discussed at length the concerns of some members and stakeholders as well as the perceptions of Pakistan that may exist in some quarters.
“In recognising those concerns and perceptions, the board agreed they needed to be managed going forward, both before and during the tournament.”
According to the statement, the ICC task force will “ensure the effective implementation of the recommendations of the ICC’s independent security advisors” while also liaising embassies within Pakistan and other governments “on an ongoing basis to ensure effective communication and the management of any concerns that may exist”.
Players from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England had said they would opt out of the tournament if it was held in Pakistan.
India had come out in support of the PCB prior to Thursday’s ruling, however, and it is believed Pakistan received overwhelming support from other ICC members.
PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said: “We thank all member countries for their kind support. The competition goes ahead as planned.
“The ICC has decided to appoint a special task force which will visit Pakistan. The tournament will take place as scheduled from September 11 to September 28.”
The decision means England will open their Group B campaign against Sri Lanka in Karachi on September 14, three days after the tournament begins.
Their next match is versus New Zealand at Rawalpindi on September 19, two days before their final group encounter with South Africa at the same venue.
The top two sides in each group progress to the semi-finals on September 24 and 25 with the final in Lahore on September 28.
England named a provisional 30-man squad on July 3 which will be reduced to 15 by August 11.