Monday, April 27, 2009

World Cup shifts base from Lahore to Mumbai

The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai will become a key figure in the 2011 World Cup.

The 2011 World Cup is shifting base from Lahore to Mumbai and India expects to get a "big share" of the 14 matches that were initially allotted to Pakistan.

The Indian board (BCCI) is hosting a meeting in Mumbai tomorrow where the tournament's organising committee will be reconstituted without representatives from Pakistan, which was stripped of its co-host status this month due to the prevailing political situation in the country.

A decision is also expected to be taken to move the tournament's central organising secretariat, its operational nerve centre, from Lahore to Mumbai.

Apparently, the re-allotment of Pakistan's 14 matches will also be discussed at the meeting. "Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are the co-hosts and out of those two, Bangladesh has only one venue to host all the matches," BCCI sources said. "So obviously, India will expect to get a big share of those matches."

The sources, however, admitted that one potential hurdle for the event would be if Pakistan refuses to play its matches in Indian venues because of cross-border political tensions. "In that case, Pakistan's matches will have to held in Lanka or Bangladesh but there's two years to go and it's too early to comment on that now," the sources said.

The ICC executive board on April 17 had resolved not to hold any 2011 World Cup matches in Pakistan because the "uncertain political situation" in the country would have made it difficult to "deliver a safe, secure and successful event".

In January, the PCB had named Salman Sarward Butt, a banker, as managing director of the tournament's central organising secretariat but Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive, is now expected to announce a new set-up in Mumbai after Tuesday's meeting. Sharad Pawar, the ICC vice-president, heads the tournament's organising committee.