The ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled to begin on the 12th of September this year, in Pakistan, has been postponed until October next year.
On Friday South Africa had told the ICC that they would not be sending a team to Pakistan due to security fears. Australia, New Zealand, England and the West Indies had made cautious hints about not sending teams too. At an ICC meeting on Sunday, to discuss the Champions Trophy, all four joined South Africa in stating that they would not be going to Pakistan at this time.
The Asian block of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh all supported Pakistan on their stance that safety was not a problem and that the competition should go ahead. Sri Lanka had been talked of as a change of venue, but even they did not put forward their case, but rather continued to support Pakistan. India and Pakistan had gone as far as to say that they would not send a team should the host be changed.
The situation is not ideal, with 5 teams effectively forcing the issue, and the rest left simmering. Perhaps it wasn’t done in the right manner. South Africa should have waited until after the meeting to make their decision public, that way they would not be seen as instigatingthe issue, and relationships with Pakistan and India would not be as harmed. But at the end of the day safety should come first and the players and those traveling, should not have been risked or used to appease Pakistan and India.
The situation in Pakistan can not guarantee safety. But the right for Pakistan to host the event should remain and they should be given every opportunity to hold the competition next year. The political and social situation in Pakistan is not healthy but it is not so far gone that it can not be in a better state next year. While bombings and acts of violence are taking place, born out of political and social discord, a cricketing competition should not be held to prove a point.
Lets hope by this time next year there are no problems and a successful competitionis held, with all participation teams there by choice.