Nov 23, 2021: India’s participation in the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan is a “challenging” issue for the International Cricket Council, but the international governing body said it was confident all teams would travel to the country for the tournament.
Since the militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, international parties have largely turned their backs on Pakistan, killing six policemen and two civilians. The 50-over tournament will be the first ICC event hosted by Pakistan since the 1996 World Cup partnership with India and Sri Lanka, and the news last week was a major boost since the withdrawal of their tours from England and New Zealand this year.
Asked if the ICC believes the teams will travel to Pakistan, Chairman Greg Barclay told reporters on Monday: “From what we can see, absolutely”
Barclay added, “We wouldn’t have awarded the event if we didn’t think Pakistan was capable of hosting it.
“I’m sure, as with all countries, they will put together appropriate security plans to deliver the event. We’re comfortable and confident it will go ahead.”
The decisions of New Zealand and England were once again expected to reduce the chances of international cricket in Pakistan, but Australia confirmed this month that they would be visiting for the first time since 1998 next year.
However, the prospects of India’s first visit to Pakistan since the 2008 Asia Cup are still unclear. Anurag Thakur, India’s former sports minister and head of the cricket board, told reporters last week that security was the most important concern and the government would call on it in due course. India hosted Pakistan in a bilateral series in 2013, but the neighbors are rarely seen facing off outside world tournaments these days.
Pakistan played in India at the 2011 World Cup as well as the T20 World Cup in 2016.
“We know it’s a challenging issue,” Barclay said. “From my point of view, I can’t control geo-political forces.
“I just hope cricket can be a force to help improve relations between countries. One of the great things sports can do is to help bring nations together. If we can do something in a small way to contribute to that, that’s fantastic.”
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