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South Africa was yesterday confirmed as the host for cricket’s Champions Trophy.

# Champions Trophy bound for Bullring

# Mini-World Cup cricket set for SA

The 12-day tournament, involving all eight the Test-playing nations, is regarded as a mini-World Cup.

It was stripped from Pakistan because of fears for the security of players, officials and fans following terror attacks in Lahore .

Last week the International Cricket Council recommended South Africa as a possible alternative, but Cricket SA first insisted on a business plan that would not embarrass it financially. Yesterday the ICC executive board agreed unanimously to play the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

The tournament will be held from September 24 to October 5. When it was taken from Pakistan it was first awarded to Sri Lanka, but the island will be in the midst of a monsoon season at that time of the year.

It will be the first time that South Africa hosts this glamour tournament, having staged the World Cup successfully in 2003.

Probable venues for the tournament will be the Wanderers, in Johannesburg, and Centurion, with Benoni and Potchefstroom as back-up venues.

Meanwhile, cricket’s lucrative Indian Premier League hangs in the balance today because of a deadlock on security. Talks between the IPL and the Indian government yesterday failed to resolve security matters.

Less than a month remains before the opening of the second season of the multi- million dollar Twenty20 league that features some of the world’s leading cricketers.

Ever since the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan two weeks ago and in Mumbai last December, security has been a major concern and there are now fears the IPL could become a target.

The IPL has hired a South African firm to co-ordinate security plans with local authorities. It said police and paramilitary forces would be required to protect the cricketers, officials and fans.
 
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