ICL: Indian Cricket League

ICC denies England on Champions Trophy stand-by


The ICC has denied that England is being sounded out as an alternative venue for the Champions Trophy if Pakistan is deemed unsafe for the tournament.

It was reported that at least one Test ground had been approached as a potential venue, but an ICC spokesman told Cricinfo that was not the case. “England is not being lined up,” he said. “Pakistan is the confirmed venue and our preparations are moving ahead on that basis.

“Members of the task team will head there this week to see for themselves the measures in place and we look forward to a great tournament with 15 matches involving the world’s top eight teams in cricket’s second major.”

An ICC task force is set to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday (August 10) for a three-day visit, and Sri Lanka is understood to be the first stand-by venue if the tournament is moved, while South Africa is another possibility.

However, officials at Edgbaston have been asked by the ECB if they’d be interested in staging matches. “We were asked by Giles [Clarke, the ECB chairman] if we would be interested in hosting Champions Trophy games,” Warwickshire chief executive, Colin Povey, told the Birmingham Post. “All we’ve said is that we would, in principle, be keen to do so. I understand a number of other Test match grounds have also been approached.

“There are some logistical issues. The ICC would probably require ‘clean’ grounds [free of ECB and Warwickshire advertising], but there is a window for the competition [in England] between September 12-26. We have a Championship match here from the 24th, but the final would probably be in London anyway.”

Keith Bradshaw, MCC’s chief executive, told Cricinfo he hadn’t been officially approached about using Lord’s but “would jump at the chance to stage the event if things came to that” and would be “100% interested if asked.” Lord’s hosts its last major game for the season on September 10, so there is a clear window in the latter part of the month. The Oval would be the other prime venue and along with Edgbaston hosted matches when the Champions Trophy was in England during 2004.

An ECB spokesman told Cricinfo that ICC asked the ECB to assess the availability of venues in case a move was required. “This was brought up by the ICC at their meeting in Dubai, ” he said.

Even if the event does proceed in Pakistan player associations from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and England have all expressed deep concerns over the tournament. Player boycotts have not been ruled out and a number of sides could send second-string teams.

Source:Cricket News

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