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‘No India hand in barring Pak’

ICC today dismissed Pakistan's claims that India was behind the shifting of their 2011 WC matches and said the decision could have been avoided if the security apprehensions in the strife-torn country were responsibly addressed during the ICC Executive Board meeting, reports Sahil Sharma.
Hindustan Times | By Sahil Sharma, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2009 10:46 PM IST

Though the International Cricket Council (ICC) has barred Pakistan from hosting matches in the 2011 World Cup, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision to put on hold its legal action against the world body has opened a window of hope.

“Had Pakistan made so much effort before the April board meeting, maybe they would not have been in this situation. Now, all they are trying to do is save their face, which is justified as any country would do the same!” ICC CEO, Haroon Lorgat, said in jest.

“Now that the PCB has withdrawn the legal notice, we can hope for some progressive dialogue between the two organizations. But, as everybody knows, we have already made a decision, but seeing Pakistan’s efforts we will have to see what the discussion holds,” he added.

The PCB has put forth the option of neutral venues as an answer to the security concerns.

“There have been some reports about neutral venues in the media, but no such option is being considered,” Lorgat said.

Former Pakistan players and officials had blamed India for playing a major role in the country being sidelined, but Lorgat was quick to rubbish such remarks.

“It is irresponsible on the part of Pakistan to be making such statements. I can categorically confirm that India had nothing to do with the decision,” he said.

In the Capital for an event, the ICC CEO also assured that even though the world body had taken strict measures against Pakistan, it wouldn’t hamper India’s chances of hosting the mega event.

“Almost all countries have refused to tour Pak because of security concerns, thus we had to take such a serious step. As for India, we will be making a mandatory security check.”

A twist in T20 tale

The ICC T20 World Cup in England will add another spectacle to the ever-evolving sport. For the first time, children will accompany the teams to the field before the match as happens in football. Also, for the first time, the national anthems of the teams will be sung before the start of T20 games.

A joint initiative between the ICC and its global partner LG Electronics, Lead XI, has selected 15 children from across the country to lead the India team on the field before every match. Like India, the other teams too will be led on to the field by children, who will be chosen from England. “It’s a fantastic addition. We will be evoking a feeling of national pride through the singing of anthems before the matches,” said Lorgat.

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