It could be a good two years away, but the ICC, it seems, is already mulling over the idea of shifting games during the 2011 World Cup owing to security concerns. Though in not as many words, ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat admitted that the security situation in Pakistan would be of special importance for the game's governing body.
The cancellation of tours to Pakistan in the recent past would however, Lorgat assured, have no bearing on the ICC's final decision. “It's a long way off and way too early to be concerned at this stage. “We'll pay much more attention to the issues like security and relations between countries when we get closer to the event,” Lorgat said. Eight of the 15 host cities are in India, four in Pakistan, two in Sri Lanka and one in Bangladesh.
Speaking at a meeting here to discuss plans with representatives from host countries — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — Lorgat said: “One of the issues to arise from today's meeting was that of safety and security.”
“Clearly, that is a major factor to consider and we are already making provisions to ensure that players, officials, media, spectators and all other stakeholders will be safe during the event. In fact, people's safety is our number-one priority,” Lorgat added.
While the hosts have been asked to consider alternate venues, Lorgat reiterated the fact that the ICC would take the final decision later.
“I’ve asked the organisers to consider alternate host city venues within the country as well as alternate country venues if things are not favourable in one of the particular host countries,” he said.
“We will appoint an independent security assessor and will make a decision. At this stage we are planning for the World Cup to take place in the four countries as originally planned.”
Security is not the only problem for the ICC to deal with. Terming the hosts’ pace of preparation for the event 'behind the clock', Lorgat admitted that they had to buck up.
“There is some work to catch up with, it's a little late than we would've liked, but there's no need to press the panic button,” he said.