DUBAI // Zahid Shah, the UAE's fastest bowler, believes there is no reason why any of the international cricket fraternity should refuse to play at the ICC Champions Trophy in troubled Pakistan in September. The ICC board will hold a teleconference tomorrow, where they will make the decision on whether the tournament should go ahead as planned in Pakistan.
Zahid was part of the UAE team which played at the Asia Cup in Lahore at the end of last month. The security in that tournament, held in Karachi, was the subject of investigations by the ICC's consultants, Nicholls Steyn & Associates, as well as an independent assessor representing England, Australia and New Zealand. Their report was said to be "positive", and Zahid believes it is unlikely they will have found anything less that "fantastic" security conditions at the grounds.
Zahid, who flew out to the ACC Trophy in Malaysia as part of the defending champion's squad last night, feels the tournament must go ahead as scheduled. "As far as cricket is concerned, nothing has happened as such that should force cricketers to decide not to go to Pakistan," said Zahid, who hails from Peshawar. "The security when we went there for the Asia Cup was fantastic, everything was well planned, no players came to any harm and there was never any such thing as a terror threat.
"That shows that these players need to realise Pakistan is safe for cricket. The government will provide the very best quality of security for the players, so I don't think any sides should opt out of the ICC Champions Trophy." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org