There is a real danger England will pull out of the Champions Trophy in Pakistan in September because of security concerns. The England and Wales Cricket Board is to hold a meeting on 4 August to discuss their participation and Kevin Pietersen has become the first player to say he has serious reservations about travelling to the country. "I've definitely got reservations – 100 per cent – about going to Pakistan," the England batsman said. "I don't think pressure should be put on any individual, especially when you realise your life could be at risk."
The International Cricket Council announced on Thursday that Pakistan would remain as hosts of the Champions Trophy, which is due to start on 11 September. The possibility of moving the tournament was discussed because of security concerns raised by Australia, England and New Zealand.
However, the ICC decided it would stay put after appointing a special task force to ensure security. Australia and New Zealand have hinted they could pull out while the ECB is monitoring the situation. After speaking to ECB chief executive David Collier, Pietersen is confident that the players will not be put in a difficult position.
"He's reassured me that the ECB have got an emergency meeting on 4 August and they'll be making a decision there," he said. Collier added: "It's a very fluid situation in Pakistan at the moment. It's primarily the external environment we're looking at and which we have raised some concerns over. We will be monitoring that."
The South Africa captain, Graeme Smith, speaking yesterday, echoed Pietersen's views. Smith said the situation has worsened in Pakistan since his team visited last October, when a bomb exploded in Karachi soon after they had left for Lahore and a state of emergency was declared only days after the end of the tour.
"From the players' point of view, we do have major concerns with security in Pakistan. A lot has happened in Pakistan, from a security point of view, since we were there and those are things that are worrying us," Smith said. "Generally, that's a full-player view. I don't know any players who don't have issues with regards to security in Pakistan."