Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shoaib & Asif to play in ICC Champions Trophy 2008

Controversial Pakistani pace duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif got some reprieve after the national selectors included them in the shortlist of 35 players for the Champions Trophy, although the final decision on their participation rests on the Cricket Board.
Sources close to the selectors said that a shortlist of 35 players had been sent to the PCB out of which 30 would be approved for the tournament. The International Cricket Council regulations state that all the participating teams have to submit names of 30 probable two months before the start of the tournament and the final 15 squad a month before the event.
"The selectors have included Shoaib and Asif because they believe that since there is much time left before the start of the Champions Trophy, they should not be ignored for selection," one source said. "The selectors believe that if available they should play for Pakistan and strengthen the pace attack," he added.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

ICC Champions Trophy 2008 in Pakistan

International Cricket Council's Champions Trophy, also popularly known as the Mini World Cup among the cricket world, is cricket's One Day International tournament 2nd in importance to the Cricket World Cup Tournament. The first tournament was inaugurated as ICC Knock Out tournament in the year 1998 and has been played every two years since then. The name of the tournament was changed to the Champions Trophy in the year 2002. Originally, all ten full ICC members were taking part, together with (for the first four competitions) two associate members. As per ICC announcement, from 2008, this will be changed to the 8 highest-ranked ODI teams as placed 6 months out from the tournament.

ICC's Champions Trophy is very popular and considered very prestigeous among all the cricket playing nations. This year the Champions Trophy has been decided to be played in Pakistan from September 11-28.

Following are the participating nations in the 2008 Champions Trophy Tournament;

Group A

Australia (1), India (4), Pakistan (5), West Indies (8)

Group B

South Africa (2), New Zealand (3), Sri Lanka (6), England (7)

The currently planned schedules for the series is as follows;

11 September - Pakistan v West Indies, Lahore.

12 September - New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Karachi.

13 September - Australia v India, Lahore.

14 September - England v Sri Lanka, Karachi.

15 September - South Africa v New Zealand, Rawalpindi.

16 September - West Indies v India, Karachi.

17 September - Pakistan v Australia, Rawalpindi

18 September - South Africa v Sri Lanka, Lahore.

19 September - England v New Zealand, Rawalpindi.

20 September - Pakistan v India, Lahore.

21 September - Australia v West Indies, Karachi;

England v South Africa, Rawalpindi.

24 September - 1st Semi-Final, Karachi.

25 September - 2nd Semi-Final, Rawalpindi.

28 September - Final, Lahore.

However with the increasing terrorist related violences in Pakistan, including the deadly suicide blast on the night of the Asia Cup final has thrown cloud on the security measures for holding such an important event in Pakistan.Rawalpindi, one of three venues for the ICC's Champions Trophy tournament, adjoins Islamabad where 14 policemen and five civilians were killed and scores injured in Sunday's attack.As per World cricket chief Haroon Logart "The ICC will not compromise the safety and security of any individual at one of its tournaments and if it is not appropriate to play in any country then we will not do so". said in a statement. Besides players from Australia, New Zealand and England have expressed concern over playing in Pakistan.
Currently Sri Lanka is the designated alternative venue but is also facing similar internal violences between Tamil Tiger rebels and government troops, with South Africa mentioned as a possible replacement.

On the contrary PCB is very confident that the ICC Champions Trophy will be held in Pakistan even as a deadly blast killed 19 people in Islamabad on Sunday when the country was hosting the Asia Cup final in Karachi. Shafqat Naghmi, PCB's chief operating officer said "The ICC has been supporting us on the Champions trophy and we are confident that it will continue doing so,"