Pakistan stripped of World Cup games
The International Cricket Council have moved 2011 World Cup matches out of Pakistan.
The decision was taken at the executive board meeting in Dubai today. The ICC said the decision was made due to the “uncertain political situation” in Pakistan.
Pakistan was due to host the competition with Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka. However, security in the country has deteriorated drastically since the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto last year.
Australia and New Zealand refused to tour the country last year due to security fears while South Africa refused to participate in the Champions Trophy in September last year.
The Champions Trophy was then postponed by 13 months and subsequently moved to South Africa.
Most recently, on March 3, the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by gunmen in Lahore as they made their way to the Gaddafi Stadium for the third day of the second Test against Pakistan.
Eight people were killed in the attacks and a number of the Sri Lanka team were injured.
ICC president David Morgan said: “It is a regrettable decision. Our number one priority is to create certainty and deliver a safe, secure and successful event.”
Morgan added the delay over a decision on the Champions Trophy, which left the ICC with a crowded calendar for 2009, also played a part in today’s announcement.
“Our number one priority was and is to deliver a safe, secure and successful event and the uncertainty created by events within Pakistan created a huge question mark over our ability to do just that,” he said.
“That was something we saw all too clearly with the delay over the decision of whether or not Pakistan could host the ICC Champions Trophy last year. The event ended up being postponed and we cannot afford a repeat of that uncertainty or any form of postponement for this event.
“By making this decision now we hope we can put a great deal of any uncertainty to one side and press on with our preparations which, given this is cricket’s biggest and most high-profile event within our range of tournaments, are substantial.”
The ICC board also received a report on the terror attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore and heard the views of team captain Mahela Jayawardene and ICC match referee Chris Broad who was caught up in the attack.
The ICC have now formed a task team comprising the ICC security unit, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat and ICC directors Jack Clarke and Shashank Manohar and will conduct an independent security review of all international matches.
“This review will include an assessment of whether current protocols employed by our members are adequate and, if they are not, what can be done to improve them,” Lorgat said.
“The ultimate purpose of the review is to help create a safe and secure environment where international cricket can proceed wherever possible. It will be carried out as soon as possible,” he added.
Pakistan’s cricket fraternity reacted with dismay to the decision.
PCB chief operating officer Saleem Altaf: “This is shocking.
“I don’t know what transpired at the meeting, but this is a disappointing decision.
“We were keen for international cricket to return to Pakistan and were working on a security plan to convince the ICC and other countries,” he said.
PCB director general and former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad said he was stunned.
“Pakistan cricket is going through a rough patch and unfortunately the understanding and the support we expect from other member countries has been found wanting,” he said.
“There was plenty of time in hand for the World Cup and we could have ensured fool-proof security for the teams,” he said.
Former captain Rameez Raja said the decision would further isolate Pakistan.
“How is the sport to survive if the ICC continues to isolate Pakistan?” he asked.
“This decision will hurt cricket in the country. It is a massive setback for us,” he said.
Meanwhile, a task-team report was presented to the board with recommended steps for Zimbabwe to take before returning to Test cricket.
And former India captain Ravi Shastri will replace Michael Holding as the media representative on the ICC cricket committee.