ICL: Indian Cricket League

Lawson fears Champions Trophy may also be shifted


lawsonPakistan coach Geoff Lawson on Wednesday expressed fears for September’s ICC Champions Trophy saying that Australia’s decision to avoid touring this country may have a disastrous affect on the fate of world cricket’s second-most important tournament.

Lawson, who had earlier expressed displeasure over Australia’s decision to postpone their tour of Pakistan, said that he fears that the world champions might also stay away from the Champions Trophy to be held here for the first time.

“I’m fearful for the Champions Trophy,” said the former Australian Test pacer, who took over as Pakistan coach last summer. “The Australians have set a bad example by opting out of the (Pakistan) tour and I’m not sure whether they would come here for the Champions Trophy,” he added.

Australia were supposed to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 International in March-April here but after requesting Pakistan to shorten the series, they eventually pulled out of the commitment on Tuesday, citing security concerns in the wake of a series of suicide bombings in various parts of the country.

Lawson said that there is a possibility that other leading teams might follow suit. “It would be highly unfortunate if that happens because cricket is so important for Pakistan,” he said. There are fears that if one or more competing teams raised any security fears then the International Cricket Council (ICC) might decide to move the Champions Trophy out of Pakistan. With Sri Lanka, the back-up hosts for the Champions Trophy also battling an insurgency by Tamil rebels, there is a likelihood that the Champions Trophy might eventually fall in the lap of South Africa.

But Lawson hoped that this won’t happen. “Hopefully, things will get better and the tournament will be held in Pakistan according to schedule.” Earlier this year, the ICC was forced to take away the Women’s World Cup Qualifiers from Pakistan after competing teams raised safety concerns. The tournament was later held in South Africa.

On a positive note, Lawson said that he and his charges were now setting their sights on the home series against Bangladesh next month. On the request of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the Bangladeshis have agreed to play five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 game in April. The itinerary of the series is to be decided soon.

“It’s great to know that Bangladesh have no security concerns,” he said. “They can be a tough team to beat,” he added. Pakistan sole assignment in 2008 so far has been a five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe at home. The hosts made a 5-0 clean sweep in the series that failed to produce any exciting cricket.

Critics are expecting a similar rout of Bangladesh in next month’s series but Lawson said that his team will not be taking anything for granted against the Tigers. “Bangladesh have proved time and again that they are capable of producing upsets and I’m sure they would be a much tougher side than Zimbabwe.”

Source:Cricket News

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