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Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 16:35 UK

ICC satisfied with Trophy plans

Haroon Lorgat
Lorgat is happy with Pakistan's preparations

England's cricketers will receive a "presidential" level of security during the Champions Trophy in Pakistan.

England have been joined by Australia and New Zealand in expressing concerns about security ahead of the tournament.

But ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said strict security measures were in place ahead of the 12 September start.

"It is what our security advisors describe as a presidential level of security, what would be rolled out for any head of state," he said.

"As far as the ICC is concerned the safety and security is satisfactory."

Lorgat also ruled out moving the event to Sri Lanka, which is the ICC's alternate venue, saying: "I think the time has passed.

"It is possible to postpone, to relocate or to add a ninth or 10th team but at this point in time we have no indication to the contrary.

"The tournament is going ahead, the teams have not withdrawn and we expect the best teams to participate.

"We are probably at a position where it is not possible to have a world-class event elsewhere - the shorter the time-frame the less likely that is of happening."

The Champions Trophy is scheduled to be played in Karachi and Lahore, starting on 12 September.

The ICC had previously discussed the possibility of moving the tournament because of the security fears.

606: DEBATE
Tapdut

Pakistan is fighting Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in its northwestern tribal regions bordering Afghanistan and has suffered a string of deadly suicide bomb attacks in the last year which have killed more than 1,000 people.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has always insisted the eight-nation, 18-day tournament can proceed safely.

England are expected to make a decision on whether to travel by Thursday and it is thought that the ECB would not face punishment if they were to withdraw on security grounds.

England batsman Owais Shah was born in Karachi and he said: "I have a lot of family still there and, in one way, if the board made a decision to go it would be an excuse to see the family.

"But obviously we all have concerns and because of my background, growing up there, I do know what Karachi can be like.

"The whole team has got concerns about going and we're all waiting for a decision to be made by the board and we will have to see what happens."

Australian players and officials met with an ICC delegation, which included Pakistan's Australia-born coach Geoff Lawson, in Melbourne last week.

But that meeting appears to have done little to calm any concerns over safety.

Australia Cricketers' Association boss Paul Marsh told the Daily Telegraph: "Our position is that we can't recommend the players tour Pakistan for the Champions Trophy.

"Obviously we put a position forward a few weeks ago (to the ICC) to that effect, but we said we would keep an open mind with the taskforce, which we did.

"We heard them speak on Friday. Now we have had a chance to digest it all, our position hasn't changed.

"We have concerns with every aspect of this (tournament) at the moment."

It has also been suggested that players could withdraw, leading to a weakened team being sent, though Lorgat remains hopeful that teams will send their strongest sides.

"I would like to think that the member boards would not send a weakened side because no life is worth less than another," he said.

"You send your best side unless you decide the advice tells you differently."

England's first match is against Sri Lanka in Lahore, on 14 September.




see also
England discuss Champions Trophy
18 Aug 08 |  England
ICC aims to avert Trophy boycott
13 Aug 08 |  Cricket
Pakistan keeps Champions Trophy
24 Jul 08 |  Cricket
Champions Trophy gets all-clear
18 Jun 08 |  Cricket
England receive kind Trophy draw
22 Mar 08 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2008
22 Mar 08 |  Cricket


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