Pakistan’s increasing isolation in the cricket world reached a final, if foregone, conclusion with the International Cricket Council (ICC) stripping it of 2011 World Cup hosting rights.
The ICC’s executive board, which met in Dubai, said the “uncertain security situation” forced the decision but decided that the World Cup would stay in the subcontinent with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh all hosting matches.
“It is a regrettable decision, but our number one priority is to create certainty and deliver a safe, secure and successful event,” said ICC president David Morgan.
Until recently, the ICC was hopeful that cricket would return to Pakistan in near future, but refused to put a timeframe on the event.
“It is disappointing and upsetting that the ICC has reached this decision,” Saleem Altaf, CEO of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said, but refused to comment further until he was briefed by Ejaz Butt, PCB chairman, who is in Dubai.
Pakistan’s status has grown increasingly precarious in the last 12 months with South Africa leading a move to refuse to tour, causing the Champions Trophy to be first postponed and eventually moved out to South Africa. The ICC decided it could not risk a similar scenario with the World Cup and had to take a decision at the earliest.
“We are ready to host whatever extra matches come our way,” a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official told Hindustan Times. “We were expecting this decision and there will be no problem in India hosting additional matches.”
Whatever slim chances Pakistan had of remaining co-hosts receded when India, traditionally one of Pakistan’s allies on the ICC voting table, cancelled its recent tour.
The ICC board heard testimony from people who were affected by the March 3 attacks in Lahore on Sri Lanka’s cricketers, including match referee Chris Broad and Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene.