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

The tournament will be first ICC event hosted by Pakistan since 1996. (Source: AFP)

LONDON: International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Greg Barclay has expressed his confidence that all teams will travel to Pakistan for 2025 Champions Trophy, despite admitting India’s participation was a “challenging issue”.

The 50-over tournament will be the first major global cricket event to be staged in Pakistan since it co-hosted the 1996 World Cup with India and Sri Lanka. Last week’s announcement came as a big boost after England and New Zealand pulled out of tours there in September.

International sides have largely steered clear of Pakistan since a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians.

Asked if the ICC was confident teams would travel to Pakistan, chairman Greg Barclay was optimistic that it will be held with a full complement of nations. “From what we can see, absolutely,” said Barclay.

“We wouldn’t have awarded the event if we didn’t think Pakistan was capable of hosting it,” the ICC chief said, adding, “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.”

When asked if India would travel to Pakistan, Barclay said, “We know it’s a challenging issue,” adding, “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,” he added.

The prospects of India travelling to Pakistan for the first time since the 2008 Asia Cup remain unclear, however. Anurag Thakur, India’s sports minister and former cricket board chief, told reporters last week security was the main concern and that the government would make the call when the time comes.

 

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