Karachi:The Pakistan Cricket Board remains confident of retaining the rights to host the Champions Trophy in September this year even if it is forced to play its one-day series with Australia at neutral venues in April.
"We are going to have talks with Cricket Australia this month to discuss possible neutral venues for the one-day series but our first priority remains that it should be held in Pakistan," PCB Chief Operating Officer Saleem Altaf said on Tuesday.
He said even if Pakistan is forced to play Australia at neutral venues it would not affect its chances of hosting the Champions Trophy.
"We have got the Champions Trophy on basis of rotation system from the ICC. And we are keen to hold it. Even though it has already been postponed once last year due to security reasons," Altaf said.
He rejected suggestions that the cancellation of the Test tour by the Indian team to Pakistan had also affected the chances of the Champions Trophy being staged here.
"I don't think so. Remember the ICC had said it would consider the Indian team's tour as a benchmark for assessing security arrangements for the Champions Trophy," he said.
"The fact is if India has not come we have got Sri Lanka over and they are coming next month for a Test tour. So the ICC can easily assess security arrangements from the Sri Lankans' tour," he said.
Altaf didn't rule out the possibility of splitting the one-day series against Australia to one or two matches in Pakistan and remaining at neutral venues.
"But we definitely want to host the Champions Trophy in September and this would be discussed at the ICC meeting later this month in Perth," he added.