ICC running out of time on Champions Trophy call

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/championstrophy08.jpg' class='caption'> The ICC acknowledges it is running out of time to decide if it will hold, delay or relocate next month's Champions Trophy limited overs series in Pakistan.

Updated: August 18, 2008 16:49 IST
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Sydney, Australia:

The International Cricket Council acknowledges it is running out of time to decide if it will hold, delay or relocate next month's Champions Trophy limited overs series in Pakistan as several nations continue to press security concerns.

An ICC delegation met with Cricket Australia in Melbourne on Friday and with New Zealand Cricket in Christchurch on Thursday, attempting to provide assurance on security arrangements for the tournament, from September 12 to 28.

Australia, whose delegation included captain Ricky Ponting, deputy Michael Clarke and players' union boss Paul Marsh, has reserved its decision on participation in the tournament after expressing further security concerns Friday.

New Zealand has also withheld, at least until next week, its decision on participation in the eight-nation tournament in the wake of recent unrest in Pakistan.

An ICC delegation will also meet with representatives of England and South Africa, which are known to harbor similar reservations.

ICC general manager Dave Richardson acknowledged Friday that time is running out for a decision on whether to confirm the tournament in Pakistan, move it to an alternative venue in Sri Lanka or cancel or postponement it.

The ICC's security advice is that the tournament can proceed safely, but Richardson said concerns raised by playing nations would be taken to the ICC board.

"We're very short of time now," Richardson said.

"If we're going to relocate, (that decision) needs to be made in the next few days, so time is of the essence.

"The whole basis of the Champions Trophy is it's the best eight teams, the best players, so not only would it be very disappointing if we had lesser teams taking the place of our major teams, but even if those teams went and were understrength it would also be a disappointment to us."

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland urged a speedy decision.

"It's coming down to crunch time," he said.

"The ICC taskforce needs to report back to the ICC, they need to take on the advice that they're picking up, not only from feedback they're getting from Australia, but also from New Zealand and England and South Africa and other parts of the world.

"To some extent the ball is in their court, but at the same time we're obviously very interested in taking on advice from all the various sources right now."

Ponting said uncertainty over the tournament was hard on players.

"That's been probably the hardest thing, to tell you the truth," he said.

"We're only three weeks away from one of the biggest one-day tournaments that we play and yet we still don't know if we're going ... but we'll deal with that in a professional manner."

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