Indo-Pak tension no threat to 2011 WC | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 18, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 18, 2009

Indo-Pak tension no threat to 2011 WC

Bangladesh to host opening match

ICC vice-president Sharad Pawar (C) makes a point during the 2011 Cricket World Cup Organizing Committee meeting at New Delhi on Tuesday. Also seen is Bangladesh representative Mahbub Anam (L).Photo: AFP

The 2011 cricket World Cup will go on as scheduled in South Asia despite growing political tensions between co-hosts India and Pakistan, the sport's governing body said on Tuesday.
"We are committed to staging the World Cup in Asia," International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat told reporters after a meeting of the World Cup organising committee here.
"I am aware of the current situation but the World Cup is still a long way away. It is too early to be concerned but we are monitoring the situation on a regular basis."
Representatives from all four host nations -- India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh -- attended the meeting that was chaired by ICC vice-president Sharad Pawar.
The meeting confirmed that Bangladesh will stage the opening match of the quadrennial extravaganza.
Bangladesh will also host the opening ceremony on February 19, 2011, while the final will be played in India and the two semifinals shared by Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Lorgat said.
The matches to be staged in Pakistan actually put the game's governing body in a spot of bother. The Indian government cancelled a scheduled Test tour of Pakistan in January-February in the wake of the November 26 Mumbai attacks that New Delhi blames on elements in Pakistan. Certain teams have also been wary of playing in violence-hit Pakistan for security reasons, raising doubts over the fate of the World Cup.
The ICC shifted this year's Champions Trophy, the second biggest tournament after the World Cup which Pakistan was to host in September, out of the country to a still unnamed venue.
The Champions Trophy was originally scheduled for last year but was put off after South Africa pulled out, and Australia, England and New Zealand showed a reluctance to tour Pakistan.
A one-day series between Australia and Pakistan in April has been relocated to the United Arab Emirates, even though Sri Lanka are currently touring Pakistan for a two-Test series.
Lorgat said World Cup organisers had been asked to keep alternate venues in mind as a security precaution.
"This has to be done if something is not favourable in any of the host countries," he said.
So far 15 World Cup venues had been identified with eight in India, four in Pakistan, two in Sri Lanka and one in Bangladesh.
The ICC chief executive, however, warned that preparations for the tournament needed to advance faster.
"We have noticed that the work is lagging behind and the host nations need to speed it up," he said.
"We have some catching up to do but I am confident we will deliver a world class event."
India and Pakistan hosted the World Cup twice before in 1987 and 1996, while Sri Lanka were added as co-hosts for the 1996 event.
Australia and New Zealand are the alternate host countries for the 2011 tournament.

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