Malik, ex-players welcome ICC move

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Shoaib Malik, Pakistan captain, says teams must leave security arrangements to cricket boards and come full strength to enjoy the Champions Trophy.

Updated: July 27, 2008 17:47 IST
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Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik and a host of former players today welcomed the ICC decision not to shift Champions Trophy out of the trouble-torn country and said it would help improve the image of Pakistan and its cricket set-up.

"I have always said that Pakistan is a safe country to host any cricket team. And even our own team gets the best possible security in Pakistan," he said.

Malik said he would still request all the teams to come at full strength for the eight-nation tournament and they would definitely enjoy their stay in Pakistan.

"I would advise them leave the security arrangements to the boards and experts and concentrate on their cricket," he added.

Former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas, meanwhile, admitted he was not very hopeful of the ICC keeping the tournament in Pakistan given the current conditions in the country.

"There was a lot of concern over whether we would be able to host the event but now that the ICC has decided in our favour we should go all out to ensure that it is the best possible and safest event hosted in Pakistan," he said.

The former batsman said that the Champions Trophy would help boost the sport in Pakistan as for a long time people were unhappy that not many top teams were touring Pakistan.

"When Australia postponed their tour this year there was great disappointment. So it would be good for the people to see top teams in action in the Champions Trophy in their own country," Zaheer said.

Former Test spinner Iqbal Qasim said that the Champions Trophy would help Pakistan help build up its image as a moderate, liberal and progressive nation.

"I don't think we should even be bothered if some players decide against playing in Pakistan because the important thing is that the event is now being held in Pakistan," Qasim said.

Former opener Mudassar Nazar said India deserved a pat on their back for backing Pakistan to a great extent.

"It was not an easy situation for Pakistan because the top teams were against having the event in Pakistan. But I think our board fought their case well and I think Pakistan deserves to host its maiden Champions Trophy given the rich cricket culture in the country," he said.

"We must ensure that the best possible security measures are put into place for the tournament and it is held smoothly just like the Asia Cup," former Test batsman and coach Haroon Rasheed said.

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