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Page last updated at 20:22 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 21:22 UK

Pietersen admits to Trophy fears

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen says the ECB will not put players in a difficult position

Kevin Pietersen says he has serious reservations about travelling to Pakistan for the Champions Trophy later this year amid growing security fears.

"I've definitely got reservations - 100% - about going to Pakistan," the England batsman told BBC Radio 5 Live.

He also believes players should not be forced to play if they do not want to.

"I don't think pressure should be put on any individual, especially when you realise your life could be at risk," added the 28-year-old Hampshire star.

The International Cricket Council announced on Thursday that Pakistan would remain as hosts of the Champions Trophy, which is due to start on 11 September.

"All we can do is make (the players) confident about the measures taken in regard to safety and security and on that basis hope they participate," said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat.

"That is the reason we are putting together a task team inviting all the main stakeholders, including FICA (international players' association), so the process is inclusive."

The possibility of moving the tournament was discussed because of security concerns raised by Australia, England and New Zealand.

However, the ICC decided it would stay put after appointing a special task force to ensure security.

Australia and New Zealand have hinted they could pull out of the tournament, while the England and Wales Cricket Board is monitoring the situation.

After speaking to ECB chief executive David Collier, Pietersen is confident that the players will not be put in a difficult position.

606: DEBATE

"He's reassured me that the ECB have got an emergency meeting on 4 August and they'll be making a decision there," said Pietersen.

Collier added: "It's a very fluid situation in Pakistan at the moment. It's primarily the external environment we're looking at and which we have raised some concerns over. We will be monitoring that very closely."

Collier said England's players would be consulted before any decision is taken.

"We're in very close touch with the PCA (Professional Cricketers Association)," he said.

"Clearly, other boards around the world are in the same position. The safety and security of our players is paramount and we won't compromise on that."

Security in Pakistan has been a matter of concern following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December.

South Africa had armed guards for their trip to Pakistan last year
South Africa had armed guards for their trip to Pakistan last year

South Africa captain Graeme Smith said his players were worried, having played in Pakistan last October.

"From the players' point of view, we do have major concerns with security in Pakistan," said Smith.

"A lot has happened in Pakistan, from a security point of view, since we were there and those are things that are worrying us.

"Generally, that's a full-player view. I don't know any players who don't have issues with regards to security in Pakistan.

"There were bombings taking place in Karachi and bombings are taking place in Lahore now.

"Within three days (of us returning home), there was a state of emergency so we have seen how quickly things can develop."

Smith said Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa, and national players union chief Tony Irish were monitoring the situation in Pakistan.

Australia have already cancelled one trip there and could do so again.

"The risks are too great for us to recommend our players go there," said Paul Marsh, chief executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association.

You may find a world-class event that doesn't feature a large number of world-class players. That would be a real shame for cricket

Sean Morris
PCA chief executive
"We would expect Cricket Australia to adopt the same position."

Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds added: "It is only a game of cricket at the end of the day and putting yourself in a position where you're not safe is ridiculous."

The chief executive of New Zealand Cricket is also planning to speak to Heath Mills, the boss of the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association, after he said he could not advise his members to go to Pakistan.

"We believe this is a poor ICC decision. We can't see how they have put player safety as their number one priority and this is very disappointing," he stated.

"Our recommendation to our players is not to travel to Pakistan at this point in time.

"There isn't one player I have spoken to who is comfortable about travelling to Pakistan at the moment."

Sean Morris, the chief executive of the PCA, echoed the thoughts of his counterparts in Australia and New Zealand.

"We've still got some very serious concerns, despite the fact that the Pakistan Cricket Board have made every effort they can to try to make it as safe as possible," he said.

"But, unfortunately, in that part of the world there are some matters that are beyond anyone's control.

"I think one thing that the England and Wales Cricket Board has said - and something we are very well aligned on - is the one thing you are never going to compromise on is security.

"You may find a world-class event doesn't feature a large number of world-class players. That would be a real shame for cricket."


see also
Pakistan keeps Champions Trophy
24 Jul 08 |  Cricket
Tait returns to Australia squad
10 Jul 08 |  Cricket
Champions Trophy gets all-clear
18 Jun 08 |  Cricket
Benazir Bhutto killed in attack
27 Dec 07 |  South Asia
Australia postpone Pakistan tour
11 Mar 08 |  Cricket
England receive kind Trophy draw
22 Mar 08 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2008
22 Mar 08 |  Cricket
England seventh seeds for Trophy
01 Mar 08 |  England
Aussies cruise to Trophy triumph
05 Nov 06 |  Cricket
Elated Windies return home
28 Sep 04 |  International Teams
Here comes the rain again
30 Sep 02 |  ICC Champions Trophy


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