PCB in despair over CT situation

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/championstrophy08.jpg' class='caption'> The board's chairman is reportedly holidaying in the US while there are growing concerns over Pakistan hosting the Champions Trophy.

Updated: August 21, 2008 15:47 IST
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Pakistan Cricket Board ran quarter page advertisements in newspapers today announcing the launch of Champions Trophy but there is a sinking feeling of a losing battle among its officials and they are "expecting the worst" in the next few days, say sources.

According to well-informed sources in the Board, strong chances are that the Champions Trophy might be relocated or postponed even as Australia and New Zealand refused to confirm their participation despite briefings from ICC task force in the last 48 hours on the security arrangements being made for the event slated to be held from September 12.

"Some teams have also raised questions about the timing of the competition in Pakistan when Muslims the world over fast in the holy month of Ramazan," one source said.

"The truth is that even within the PCB there is a sinking feeling of a losing battle and they are expecting the worst in the next few days," said the source, who is well aware of the cricket developments said.

The same feeling is prevailing in the ICC camp office in Lahore although no one is willing to speak on record.

"If the ICC manages to convince the teams that Champions Trophy should be held in Pakistan then it would be a major achievement but at the moment most of the teams are in the comfortable position of defending themselves by pointing out that the travel advisories to them by their foreign office does not encourage travelling to Pakistan," the source said.

Even former players are questioning the role of PCB during the exercise being carried out by the ICC task force to convince teams to play in Pakistan.

PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf's continued absence from the country (as he is in the United States with his family reportedly on vacations) and the failure of the Board to send senior board and security officials with the task force have come under scrutiny.

"I don't understand this given the critical situation when the ICC task force was in Pakistan the Chairman was not in the country. Then why send coach Geoff Lawson to Australia and New Zealand when already in the past even the Australians were not convinced by his arguments about playing in Pakistan," former Test captain Javed Miandad told PTI.

Another former captain Inzamam-ul Haq felt that a Board official should have gone with the ICC task force.

Lawson reportedly was also sent with the task team on the advice of the ICC.

Australia and New Zealand refused to confirm their participation in the tournament despite briefings from the task force. Both boards point out that their foreign office is not advising them to travel to Pakistan.

Ashraf's continued absence has been put down to a minor surgery by the Board but skeptics have linked it to the impeachment movement against President Musharraf who is fast losing ground and could resign in the next two days.

Ashraf was Musharraf's handpicked man to head the national commission for human development and was also introduced into the Board on its advisory council and then appointed Chairman in 2006 in place of Shaharyar Khan.

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