The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is optimistic security measures provided for the Champions Trophy in September will be enough to convince other participating nations that the country is safe enough to host the tournament.
Representatives from all eight countries will attend an important briefing at the ICC headquarters in Dubai this Sunday where a final decision is expected on the hosting rights. Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, said there was no reason for the tournament to be shifted after the recent Asia Cup went off without any security glitches.
"We have assured fool-proof security measures for the Champions Trophy," Naghmi told the News. "There is no reason for us to believe that the tournament will be relocated from Pakistan.
"Everything that needs to be done has been done to ensure that the Champions Trophy is held here smoothly and safely. We've informed the ICC, the security experts and the competing nations about it and now hope that all the stake-holders will consider it objectively."
A growing number of players, especially from Australia, have expressed reservations about touring Pakistan: earlier this year, Australia postponed a first full tour of the country in a decade to next year, due to growing violence in parts of Pakistan. Sri Lanka is the official alternative venue in, though media reports suggest that South Africa and now England are also in the running.
Naghmi, however, said the board was never contacted on this issue.
"I've also heard about such reports but we haven't received a word on it from any of the concerned parties," he said. "We are now hoping that it will be confirmed soon that the Champions Trophy will take place in Pakistan according to schedule."
South Africa has also added its voice to the chorus of concern over the tournament, though none of the players have commented. "Yes, the South African players and their association do have some concerns regarding the Champions Trophy in Pakistan," Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricketers Association, told Dawn. "No decisions have been taken at this stage and I will attend the ICC meeting in Dubai on Sunday."
South Africa toured Pakistan in October 2007 and, significantly, stayed and played on after bomb blasts in Karachi killed nearly 150 people when the late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto arrived. The ICC has insisted the tournament will remain in Pakistan and that all representatives at the meeting will be comprehensively briefed on the security measures.
"It was already decided at the ICC board meeting that the eight cricket boards will be given a presentation about the Asia Cup security as well as the overall security report prior to the ICC Champions Trophy," Brian Murgatroyd, the ICC's media manager, told the paper.