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Venue for final to be decided: PCB

May 10, 2006 23:00 IST

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday brushed aside fears of any tussle between the Asian nations over the hosting of the 2011 World Cup final, saying the venue for the grand finale of the mega event will be decided through dialogue.

"We have won the bid jointly and the manner in which Pakistan helped India over the compliance book issue and the way Indian official I S Bindra presented the bid go on to prove the joint effort and we will not let it go down the drain over the venue of the final, PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan told a news conference in Karachi.

"It is not a matter of prestige," he said adding, "The Asian countries would be meeting in July in which certain decisions regarding the 2011 World Cup would be made."

Shaharyar said he had been deeply touched by a letter from Indian Board President Sharad Pawar, which he received on Tuesday.

"The fact is that I am deeply touched by the letter and even though he praised Pakistan, I strongly believe that it was a joint effort that brought us the World Cup," he said.

In the letter, Mr Pawar praised PCB for rescuing the bid after the new-elected BCCI office-bearers were unaware of the compliance.

Shaharyar, a career diplomat, refused to speculate on the venue of the 2011 World Cup final but disagreed that rotation policy entitled India to stage the grand finale.

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"If rotation is the criterion, then I think it should be the turn of Sri Lanka and after that Bangladesh. But as I have said earlier, we will find a formula and decide on the host nation of the final through dialogue and through discussions", Shaharyar said.

India hosted the 1987 World Cup final while Lahore staged the grand finale in Lahore in 1996. The 1987 event was jointly hosted by Pakistan and India while Sri Lanka joined hands for the 1996 extravaganza.

The PCB chairman said Pakistan would be including Peshawar and Multan as backup venues of the 2011 World Cup as part of contingency plan.

"All the countries have given assurances that they would not boycott any venue. But the event is still five years away and if some incidents happen on the eve or during the event, be it natural disaster, we will shift the matches to the standby venues", Shaharyar explained.

Australia and West Indies forfeited their matches in Colombo in 1996 while India and Sri Lanka are the only leading teams to have played a Test in Karachi in the last five years. Most of the leading countries have refused to extend their stays in Karachi due to security concerns.

Shaharyar said Pakistan has conditionally agreed to play in the ICC Twenty20 world championship that will be held in South Africa next year.

"We are still not prepared to play in the Twenty20 world championship because we feel that it doesn't do any benefit to cricket. But we will organise a domestic Twenty20 event next year and see what's the response of the players before deciding on how to participate in the South Africa tournament," he said.

Pakistan have held two Twenty20 events but most of the leading players stayed away from the competition. Both the events attracted huge crowds.

"When you send a national team in any competition, the prestige of the country is involved. Likewise, there are people's expectations and we just can't go on giving excuses to the followers that we failed (in the event) because we were not accustomed or not prepared," Shaharyar said.

When pressed further, Shaharyar said, "We have Faisalabad and Sialkot as our domestic Twenty20 winners. We can send a combined team and add a couple of players like Shahid Afridi in it. But what we will do next year is too early to say but at the moment we feel that this form of cricket is not good for the game.

Pakistan and India initially opposed the hosting of the Twenty20 world championship. India, however, took a U-turn over the participation last month when they said they were willing to take part in the international Twenty20 events.

Samiul Hasan
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