Champions Trophy: England to pull out of Pakistan trip as relations hit new low

A meaningless tele-conference will take place this morning, at the end of which world cricket will again be reeling towards disaster. Whatever is decided, the Champions Trophy in Pakistan will not proceed as planned.

Whatever promises are made, security imposed, undertakings given, at least four countries will refuse to play if the International Cricket Council decide that the tournament must take place in the beleaguered country.

South Africa have already pulled out and although England have made no formal declaration they must know they will have no other option because their players will refuse to travel. Australia have not played in Pakistan since 1998 and there is no reason for them to return now. New Zealand, haunted by previous experiences of bombings, were always reluctant travellers and now they will not be travelling at all.

Yet even yesterday, India were insisting that they would continue to support Pakistan as hosts. The ICC's members have only themselves to blame. They voted as recently as last month to keep the competition where it was when it was perfectly obvious that players did not wish to go and that the country was in a state of instability.

Pakistan have assured players that the security will be at presidential level. To which the players have reasonably responded that if such restrictions are needed, there might indeed be a risk. Many have opined that cricketers have never been targeted and would be safe. It is not an argument that seems to have much substance at present.

The repercussions of today's decision are potentially cataclysmic. The ICC may try to proceed with an emasculated tournament in Pakistan. They may try to stage it elsewhere although the appetite for that does not appear to exist. Sri Lanka are the official reserves but the organisation necessary in such a short time may be too difficult. Or they may cancel the competition, meaning they would have to repay millions of dollars to ESPN, the television rights holders.

The effect on the World Twenty20 in England next year, other tournaments and Test series could be catastrophic. Trust between countries is at an all-time low. India have plenty of power but no respect: they are ruling by fear. But England too have few friends.

The ICC have been hope-lessly ineffective: their new chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, has failed to convince players they should travel to Pakistan; their new president, David Morgan, has been conspicuously silent so far. His presidency would be elevated if he were to tell it like it is after today's events.

Ultimately, money may talk. The Champions Trophy, for all its confused and confusing status as the mini-World Cup, makes plenty of it. Pakistan could be left high and dry, as they should have been months ago. The Champions Trophy in England anyone?

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003