Sri Lanka will resist any move to shift this year's ICC Champions Trophy out of the country due to concerns over adverse weather. The ICC has called for a teleconference of its Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) on Wednesday to discuss the issue but Duleep Mendis, the CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), said he was confident Sri Lanka would remain the host.
The ICC board had in January decided to move the event out of Pakistan to Sri Lanka, the official reserve venue. "That decision is now being reviewed because the dates for the 2009 event are later in the year than was the case when it was scheduled to be held last year," the ICC said. It is feared that heavy rain during that period - September 24 to October 5 - in Sri Lanka could jeopardize the event.
However, SLC will try and convince the CEC that the weather, or security, should not be a concern. "We are confident and ready to host the event," Mendis said. "We have already sent a weather assessment report to the ICC, which basically shows that heavy rains are expected only by late October and not during late September or early October when the tournament is scheduled to happen."
Traditionally, there is little international cricket in Sri Lanka during late September and early October. The Champions Trophy in 2002 finished on September 30, with both the scheduled final and the reserve day being washed out. However, England visited for a five-ODI series in the first half of October 2007. That series was barely affected by rain.
According to the ICC, the CEC will make a recommendation to the ICC Board, which will make a final decision on the matter during another teleconference on March 16. "If the eventual decision were to be that those potential weather patterns would not allow certainty in staging the tournament then the ICC would seek bids from interested locations with a view to deciding on a host in April," the ICC said.
On the other hand, if the tournament proceeds in Lanka, the ICC will initiate "preparatory work standard for all ICC events, including detailed security assessments by independent security advisors".
Mendis said that SLC was confident of handling the security aspect, too. "We just had the Indian team touring here for five ODIs (January 28-February 8) and the success of that visit shows that all the right security systems are in place," he said. "We don't foresee any problems on the security front."
The ICC Champions Trophy was originally scheduled to be held in Lahore and Karachi from September 12 last year but has since been subject to a series of revisions due to the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan and a packed international schedule.