ICC confident all teams will travel to Pakistan for 2025 Champions Trophy

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British Cricket Championship – Pakistan vs India – 2017 Cricket Champions Cup Final – Oval – 18 June 2017, Pakistan celebrates winning the ICC Champions Cup. Working images via Reuters/Paul Childs

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(Reuters) – India’s participation in the 2025 Champions Cup in Pakistan is a “difficult” issue for the International Cricket Council, but the International Cricket Federation said it was confident all teams would travel to the country for the tournament.

International actors have largely distanced themselves from Pakistan since an attack by Islamist militants on a Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 killed six policemen and two civilians.

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The 50-plus tournament will be the first ICC event hosted by Pakistan since it shared the 1996 World Cup with India and Sri Lanka, and last week’s announcement came as a huge boost after England and New Zealand withdrew from tours there in September.

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Asked if the ICC was confident the teams would travel to Pakistan, ICC President Greg Barclay told reporters on Monday: “From what we can see for sure.

“We wouldn’t have given this event if we didn’t think that Pakistan could host it.

“I am sure, as with all countries, that they will put in place the appropriate security plans to deliver the event. We are satisfied and confident that it will move forward.”

There had been fears that decisions by New Zealand and England would once again dampen the prospects for international cricket in Pakistan, but Australia confirmed this month that it would tour next year for the first time since 1998.

However, prospects for India traveling to Pakistan for the first time since the 2008 Asian Cup remain unclear.

Anurag Thakur, India’s sports minister and former cricket board chair, told reporters last week that security was the main concern and that the government would take the call when the time came.

India hosted Pakistan in a duo series in 2013 but bitter neighbors rarely meet outside world championships these days. Pakistan played in India in the 2011 World Cup as well as the T20 World Cup in 2016.

“We know it’s a tough case,” Barclay said. “From my point of view, I cannot control the geopolitical forces.

“I just hope cricket can be a force to help improve relations between countries. One of the great things that sport can do is help unite nations. If we can do something in a small way to contribute to that, that’s great.”

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(Reporting by Sudiptu Ganguly in Mumbai). Editing by Peter Rutherford

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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