SA confident of hosting 2011 World Cup

Published: Monday, April 17, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:South Asian cricket chiefs said they were "hugely" optimistic that a joint bid by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to host the 2011 World Cup would succeed.

The bid will be presented to the International Cricket Council (ICC) at its Dubai offices on Thursday, one day before the revised deadline set by the sport's world governing body.

"Everything is in place and we are hugely optimistic of taking the World Cup," Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah said.

A rival bid by Australia and New Zealand has already been sumbitted to the ICC, which will discuss the two offers at a meeting of its Executive Board on April 30.

India and Pakistan have twice hosted the four-yearly World Cup: in 1987 by themselves and in 1996 with Sri Lanka.

Australia and New Zealand jointly organised the 1992 World Cup and say they have the right by rotation to host the mega-event in 2011.

But South Asia wants to host every third World Cup because four of the 10 Test-playing nations hail from the region, which is also the commercial powerhouse driving the sport.

The joint bid for the 2011 event proposes India hosting 22 matches, Pakistan 14, Sri Lanka nine and Bangladesh six, assuming there will be 51 games at the tournament.

Like in 1996, the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has been put forward to organise the final while India will host the two semi-finals.

India's 22 matches would be held at its eight regular Test venues: Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Nagpur, Mohali and Ahmedabad.

Pakistan would use six venues in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Peshawar, Multan and Faisalabad.

Sri Lanka would host all its matches at two venues in Colombo, the Premadasa Stadium and the Sinhalese Sports Club.

Bangladesh listed three venues -- the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur and the Narayanganj Osmani Stadium in Fatullah -- but might use only one.

The four nations want the ICC to place them in four different groups of the preliminary league so that they can play their initial matches at home.

The ICC has ruled that the bid which loses the right for the 2011 World Cup will host the next tournament in 2015.

England, which had initially bid for the 2015 event, will withdraw its offer and be awarded the right to host the 2019 tournament at the ICC's annual conference in July.

Of the eight World Cups so far, England hosted the first three in 1975, 1979 and 1983, and again in 1999. The other tournaments were organised by the Indian sub-continent (1987 and 1996), Australia and New Zealand (1992) and South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya (2003).

The next World Cup will be held in the Caribbean in March-April.

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