Kiwis disappointed by Champions Trophy decision

Published: Friday, July 25, 2008, 7:30 [IST]
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Wellington: New Zealand cricketers will be urged not to travel to Pakistan for September's Champions Trophy after the International Cricket Council ruled the tournament would go ahead there.

The New Zealand Cricket Players Association said Friday it was disappointed with the ICC's decision not to move the tournament from Pakistan, and was still recommending that players not travel there.

The ICC decided Thursday to retain the tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day teams in troubled Pakistan but would appoint a commission to ensure security, Pakistan officials said.

"We're very disappointed by the decision out of the ICC overnight," New Zealand association president Heath Mills told Radio New Zealand.

"There's been a strong view that we don't think Pakistan is a safe work place for the players and our position hasn't changed," Mills said.

"It's our strong recommendation to the players that they don't travel to Pakistan at this point in time."

Mills said all of the players that he had spoken to were uncomfortable about travelling to Pakistan.

Governing organisation New Zealand Cricket (NZC), which has the final decision on whether New Zealand will send a team to the tournament, said it was talking to the players' association and its own board about safety concerns.

NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan said there would be no further comment on the ICC decision until after those discussions had taken place.

Pakistan is fighting Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in its northwestern tribal regions bordering Afghanistan and has suffered a string of deadly suicide bomb attacks in the last year which have killed more than 1,000 people.

Touring Pakistan has been a contentious issue for several foreign teams, including New Zealand, England and Australia, which postponed its March-April visit this year after a series of suicide bomb blasts.

New Zealand cut short a tour of Pakistan in May 2002 after a bomb blast outside their hotel in the southern city of Karachi killed 19 people, including 14 French naval staff.

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