ICC - England will be safe
England players have been told by ICC officials they will receive a "presidential" level of security for the Champions Trophy.
Last Updated: 19/08/08 6:56pm
England players have been told by International Cricket Council officials they will receive a "presidential" level of security for the Champions Trophy in Pakistan.
Along with Australia and New Zealand, England have raised concerns ahead of September's tournament in the sub-continent, with the ICC insisting it will not be postponed or relocated to Sri Lanka.
They have also held meetings with players to quash fears and assure them protection will be as tight as it would be for a head of state visiting Pakistan, with fears heightened following Pervez Musharraf's resignation as president.
The England and Wales Cricket Board are scheduled to meet to discuss the situation and a decision on whether to travel is expected in the next 24 hours.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat insisted: "It is what our security advisors describe as a presidential level of security, what would be rolled out for any head of state that is visiting the country. That is the extent of the measure we have in place."
He added: "At this moment in time there is no discussion about a late move.
"Until members' boards or participating teams clearly indicate their view, as far as we are concerned the tournament will progress in Pakistan.
"It is possible to postpone, to relocate or to add a ninth or 10th team but at this point in time we have no indication to the contrary.
"The tournament is going ahead, the teams have not withdrawn and we expect the best teams to participate.
"We are probably at a position where it is not possible to have a world class event elsewhere - the shorter time-frame the less likely that is of happening."
It is thought that the ECB would not face punishment if they withdrew from the tournament on grounds of security fears.
"It's a complicated legal process, something I cannot comment on at this point," Lorgat said.
Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds has branded the decision to allow Pakistan to host the event as "ridiculous" after recent fatal bomb blasts in and around the three venues the playing nations will be in action.
And the latest player to admit concerns over the safety is England's Karachi-born batsman Owais Shah.
Asked whether he expects England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand to compete in the competition, Shah said: "I think so, I hope so."
"I have a lot of family still there and, in one way, if the board made a decision to go it would be an excuse to see the family.
"But obviously we all have concerns and because of my background, growing up there, I do know what Karachi can be like.
"The whole team has got concerns about going and we're all waiting for a decision to be made by the Board and we will have to see what happens."
However, Lorgat is hopeful that teams will not field weakened teams despite strong concerns over safety.
He added: "I would like to think that the member boards would not send a weakened side because no life is worth less than another - either you send you best side unless you decide the advice tells you differently."