Subcontinent to bid for 2011 World Cup

Published: Sunday, January 15, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Indian and Pakistani cricket chiefs yesterday said that the Asian subcontinent would bid for the 2011 World Cup, and that the two traditional rivals would play a series of limited overs internationals every year at neutral venues to raise funds as well as globalise the game.

Addressing a crowded press conference, BCCI President Sharad Pawar, alongside his PCB counterpart Shaharyar Khan, said the consent of the Sri Lankan and Bangladesh boards have already been taken.

"Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have welcomed this proposal while confirming to join Pakistan and India in 2011 World Cup bid. It's not that we can't host the event independently but we want to share it so that the cricket followers of all the four countries can enjoy the excitement," Pawar said.

According to ICC rotation policy, Australia have the right to host the 2011 World Cup. But insiders said Bob Merriman has communicated to Pakistan and Indian cricket chiefs that his country was not ready to host the event for the simple reason that they fear they might not find the sponsors.

Pawar also announced a series of bilateral One-day matches that was finalized after his meeting with Shaharyar on Saturday although it is believed that Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, who is also the Patron of the PCB, was taken into confidence in Islamabad on Friday.

Pawar said Pakistan and India will play two one One-day international in April on a neutral venue and 75 per cent of the earnings from the first One-dayer would go to the earthquake victims in Pakistan while the remaining would go to quake victims of India.

"The neutral venues can be any," he replied when asked if Gulf cities of Sharjah, Singapore, Morocco etc, who have been banned by the ICC, were under consideration.

He added: "Of course, we will take the consent of the governments before finalizing the venues. Needless to say that I am part of the Indian government."

Pawar also announced that he had signed a five-year contract with Pakistan for a series of One-day internationals every year that would also be played on neutral venues.

"Our preference would be countries where there is majority of Pakistan and Indian ex-patriots. That is part of our strategy to promote and globalise the sport.

"Once again we would go to our governments for approval before finalizing the venues but places like United States and few European countries are under consideration," Pawar said.

He said the decisions have been made only on Saturday morning and very soon the two board officials would sit down to finalize the details.

"We have to resolve several issues like logistics, sponsorships, venue selections and schedule of the matches."

Pawar disagreed that One-day cricket would kill Test cricket and the two board were not reducing cricket between the two teams but only increasing.

"I don't agree with that because I think it is the right balance. We will play a five-match One-day series every year and a Test series after every two years."

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