Friday 22 August 2008 

Pakistan Still Hopes To Stage Champions Trophy

Despite South Africa's withdrawal from the tournament, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) remains hopeful that it will still be able to stage the Champions Trophy next month.

South Africa announced that they would not be sending their team to compete in the eight-team One Day International tournament due to security and safety concerns.

"Rescheduling is a problem because of the tight international calendar involving all teams and every board is aware of this. And we have been preparing very hard to make the Champions Trophy a safe and successful event," PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said.

"South Africa's decision is all the more disappointing for us because they came to Pakistan last year and were satisfied with the level of security we provided them on the tour," he added.

"We shifted a match from Karachi to Lahore on one occasion to ensure best security for them. Pakistan cricket has been going out its way since 9/11 to accommodate and ensure touring teams are given state level security.

"The ICC is trying hard to assure all teams that conditions are safe to play in Pakistan and a teleconference of the executive board is to be held on Sunday. South Africa should have waited until then."

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will make a final decision over the tournament after a teleconference on Friday.

The latest bomb blasts in the country killed 67 people on Thursday.