Latecomers South Asia claim 2011 WC by right

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:South Asia is confident of securing the rights to host cricket's World Cup in 2011, saying every third edition of the mega event should be held in the cricket-mad region.

"Our claim is a rightful one," said the sport's Indian chief Sharad Pawar ahead of Sunday's meeting of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Executive Board in Dubai to discuss the likely hosts.

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have put up a joint bid for the 2011 event against another combined bid by Australia and New Zealand.

"The South Asian region has four of the 10 Test-playing nations and a large part of the money earned from cricket comes from here, so there is good reason that every third World Cup be held here," said Pawar.

"Our proposal is not about India alone. To see matches being held in more countries would mean more crowd participation. We hope to get this opportunity."

The bids for 2011 closed in February, but the ICC granted South Asia special permission to submit theirs by April 21 after the region's cricket chiefs requested more time to study the regulations.

The ICC received the South Asian bid on April 20 at its Dubai offices and Pawar said the extra time granted to South Asia should not come in the way of a favourable response from the Executive Board.

The region received a boost this week when ICC president Ehsan Mani denied making comments attributed to him in the Pakistani media that the late submission of the bid had "damaged" South Asia's chances.

"I never made a comment like that," said Mani, a Pakistani-born chartered accountant settled in London.

"Asia is important for the ICC and the World Cup. I cannot speculate on who will win the bid. We have to ensure a level playing field for all. We remain neutral."

Seven votes are needed among the 13 countries in the ICC's Executive Board to secure the rights and South Asia is already assured of four votes by virtue of the joint bid.

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 event in 2011.

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 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.

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