A final decision on Pakistan hosting the Champions Trophy in September is expected at an ICC meeting in Dubai later today, but there are already reports suggesting a full-strength New Zealand team is unlikely for the tournament.
The meeting will involve representatives from member boards and the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) besides a team of security experts. Those from New Zealand include the team manager Lindsay Crocker and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association executive manager Heath Mills, who told the Herald on Sunday that there could be high-profile withdrawals among the New Zealand squad.
Speaking before leaving for Dubai, Mills said there could be pullouts even if the ICC declared Pakistan as a safe venue. Mills said several players had expressed their concerns to him, and that the reason no-one has come out and said "no" to the tour "is because nobody has yet asked them that question directly".
New Zealand are slated to play three ODIs in Pakistan before the biennial tournament, which now features the top eight ODI sides. New Zealand had cancelled their tour to the country in 2002 after a bomb went off outside their hotel, but returned the next year.
Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, had earlier said he would feel safe to tour if the level of security was the same as when his side toured in 2003. "I was there when the bomb went off outside our hotel in  and I went back a year later on tour and the security they put forward that time was immense and overwhelming," Vettori said. Jacob Oram had expressed concerns over the visit, and said he would sit with his family and make a decision.
New Zealand Cricket has commissioned their own security expert along with Cricket Australia and the ECB. Security experts, led by the Australian Reg Dickason, had visited Pakistan in late June, and had said security in the country needed "fine tuning" . Pakistan hosted the Asia Cup without incident recently, but fears emerged following attacks in Islamabad, the capital, and in the port city of Karachi the last week. In a statement before the meeting, the ICC said: "The ICC will not indulge in speculation and, at this stage, the tournament will proceed in Pakistan, as scheduled."
The Champions Trophy will be held in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, between September 11 and 28. Shafqat Naghmi, the board's chief operating officer, on Saturday that the board was confident of hosting the tournament after successfully conducting the Asia Cup.