Cricket News

Pakistan could drop one venue for Champions Trophy

KARACHI (Reuters) - The slow pace of renovations to the stadium at Rawalpindi could force cricket authorities to restrict next month’s Champions Trophy to just two venues, sources within the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have said.

The tournament, second in importance to the World Cup, is already proving contentious with four of the eight countries -- New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and England -- expressing concerns about security and player safety.

An International Cricket Council (ICC) inspection team, lead by operations head Dave Richardson and head of the players’ unions Tim May, is to inspect security and venues next week.

“In principle there is a feeling in the board that the stadium might not be completed in time for the venue to be handed over to the ICC for preparation of pitches and other logistical arrangements,” a PCB source told Reuters.

“There has been a suggestion to distribute the 15 matches of the tournament under the revised schedule with Karachi hosting seven matches and Lahore eight including the final.”

A decision would be made after the ICC visit, the source added.

The ICC’s chief curator is due in Pakistan next week to start preparing pitches.

PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said a deadline of August 20 had been set for renovation work on the Pindi stadium to be completed.

“We are hopeful this will happen although some of the details might not be completed by the deadline,” he said.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury