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Saturday, September 17, 2011

PCB top brass to meet over T20 event

Pressure is mounting on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to delay or shift the forthcoming domestic Twenty20 championship from Lahore because of a major dengue threat.

For that purpose, a meeting is scheduled to take place between PCB chairman Ijaz Butt and other senior board officials, it was learnt by ‘The News’ here on Friday.

There is a growing concern among some PCB officials and they feel that there is a need to sit down and re-think over staging of the event in Lahore, a city that has been badly affected by the dengue virus.

“According to reports the dengue outbreak will only get worse which is why we have decided to hold a meeting to discuss our options,” a source said.

The Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) had earlier requested the board to either postpone or shift the event to Karachi for security reasons.

However, the official said that there is hardly any chance that the tournament will be moved to Karachi since dengue cases have also been reported here.

But he revealed that there is a chance that the event can be moved to Multan if the PCB decides to shift it.

“Multan remains in pole position to host the event if the board decides to move the tournament,” he revealed.

“It’s the board’s policy is to take cricket to smaller cities. We originally planned to stage the event in Rawalpindi but renovation work forced us to bring it to Lahore.”

Meanwhile, KCCA warned on Friday that the PCB will be responsible if any player or official is hit by dengue outbreak during the Faysal Bank T20 tournament in Lahore.

KCCA sent an email to ‘The News’ stating: “In view of the assurance by Punjab Government and insistence of PCB to have this tournament in Lahore we have agreed to go to Lahore. However if anything happens to our players or officials it will be the responsibility of PCB.”

A team from Afghanistan is scheduled to take part in the event but they too remain concerned about the prospects of playing in Lahore.

Wisal Durrani, president of Peshawar District Cricket Association (PDCA) said: “It would be good if the board postpones the event. But I am aware of the problem PCB faces as it will get in problem with sponsors and broadcasters.

“In addition, the domestic calendar is very tight and if the tournament is delayed then the top international players, who are the biggest attraction for the public, won’t be able to take part in the tournament.”

Atique Ahmed, secretary Hyderabad region, said that they have no reservations and are ready to play in Lahore.

Khalid Mehmood, secretary Sialkot region, said that they too have no problem in playing in Lahore but the board and the local administration should take all possible measures to ensure a safe and secure tournament. He also said that the biggest cause for concern would be from public point of view, as thousands of people would turn up to witness the event, which makes the risk of people getting attacked by dengue even higher.
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