Pakistan unconcerned by threat

Karachi, July 26:

Pakistan’s cricket chief on Saturday said he was not worried over the prospect of top players pulling out of the Champions Trophy, which the South Asian cou-ntry hosts in September.

“If some players do not come it would not make any difference,” Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf said. “It would be their loss to miss a mega event.”

Holders Australia and other key nations could pull out of the Trophy after the ICC decided on Thursday to go ahead with the tournament in Pakistan despite security fears. The ICC announced an eight-member taskforce will ensure security in Pakistan for the September 11-28 showpiece but even that has failed to allay the security concerns of the non-Asian countries.

The Australian and New Zealand players’ associations called on their cricket governing bodies not to send teams to Pakistan, while South African Cricketers’ Association voiced dismay over the decision.

England and Wales Cricket Board said it would consult key players before taking a final decision on the team’s participation.

Ashraf said some top players also missed last year’s Twenty20 World Cup without hurting the event. “We have the example of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa where some top players did not feature, but the event was still a huge success,” said Ashraf.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the game’s world governing body was powerless to force players to compete in the event. “ICC cannot force players to attend. All we can do is to make them confident ab-out measures taken in this regard to safety and security, and on that basis hope they take part,” Lorgat said.