Cricket: ICC promise Pakistan support despite World Cup snub
International cricket’s leading administrator insisted on Thursday he was doing all he could to support Pakistan after confirming the troubled country would not host matches at the 2011 World Cup.
However, International Cricket Council president David Morgan, speaking to reporters on Thursday after the second day of the global governing body’s meeting here at Lord’s, also said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had accepted the help of a “task team” in retaining its position in international cricket.
The offer was first made at the ICC’s meeting in January/February in Perth, Western Australia.
Morgan said the task team would be led by ICC director Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and one of the prime movers behind a plan to stage a Test series between Pakistan and Australia in England next year.
The team would also include David Richardson, the ICC’s general manager for cricket and a former South Africa wicket-keeper although its terms of reference, including additional membership, had still to be decided.
“We are delighted the PCB has accepted the ICC’s offer of assistance as we seek to ensure Pakistan is not isolated as a result of circumstances beyond the control of its cricket administrators,” former ECB chairman Morgan said.
Pakistan was one of four original World Cup co-hosts along with fellow Indian sub-continent Test nations India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
But the ICC ruled out matches in violence-hit Pakistan following the militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore on March 3 while it was on its way to the Gadaffi stadium to resume a Test match.
Morgan confirmed that the 14 World Cup matches originally allocated to Pakistan would be re-distributed within India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
He also added that the decision taken at a previous ICC meeting at its Dubai headquarters in April 17 and 18 that Lahore would no longer be the World Cup’s administrative headquarters stood as well.
But Morgan, flanked by ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, stressed the PCB remained a World Cup co-host and would still receive a hosting fee of 750,000 dollars per match - 10.5 million dollars in total.
Following last year’s Mumbai terror attacks, security concerns have also been expressed regarding the safety of India as a venue for international cricket while a long-running civil war in Sri Lanka has only recently ended.
But Morgan said: “The situation in Pakistan is different.
“The tragic happenings in Lahore when a cricket team was targeted and the player control team was targeted, that changed the landscape of safety and security in cricket, in sport generally and in terms of sporting events of an international nature in Pakistan.
“That is very sad for Pakistan, very sad indeed. But Mr Lorgat and I have done our utmost to try to ensure that Pakistan as a cricketing nation is not isolated despite the fact that we cannot, in the foreseeable future, see other cricketing teams at national level visiting Pakistan.”
Morgan said the ICC had looked at staging matches in a “fifth country”, amidst speculation that matches could be shifted to the United Arab Emirates.
But he added: “The (ICC) board has considered that but it has decided the 14 matches originally allocated to Pakistan should take place in the three other Indian sub-continent countries of the Full Members, that is India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.”
His comments appeared to end any hopes the PCB, which is taking legal action against the ICC, had of staging its tournament matches in a ‘neutral´ venue.
How many of Pakistan’s World Cup games will be played in each of the three other co-host countries has yet to be decided.
The ICC has referred the matter back to the tournament’s central organising committee and Morgan said he expected a decision within a fortnight.
Pakistan, who beat Sri Lanka in Sunday’s World Twenty20 final at Lord’s, are about to embark on a tour of the island nation, starting next week, featuring three Tests, five one-day internationals and one Twenty20 international.