Sport
World Cup matches look unlikely
Former Pakistan captains say the chances of hosting World Cup matches are slim.
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2009 23:08 GMT

Waqar Younis believes there will be no World Cup matches in Pakistan [GALLO/GETTY]
Pakistan's chances of co-hosting the 2011 World Cup have almost certainly disappeared after the deadly attack on the Sri Lanka team bus, according to three of the country's former captains.

"I don't see the International Cricket Council allowing World Cup matches to be held in Pakistan now. It is gone," former skipper Waqar Younis said shortly after six players were wounded and five policemen killed in the ambush.

Former ICC president and Pakistan-born Ehsan Mani said it was "very unrealistic" to think teams will play in Pakistan for at least the next two to three years.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said later on Tuesday that a decision would be made at their next board meeting in April.

"The World Cup is to be held on the sub-continent with Pakistan as one of the joint hosts but I think it will be very challenging for us to be convinced that Pakistan would be a safe venue," he told a news conference at Lord's.

The 2011 World Cup is due to be co-hosted by Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Waqar, who is a commentator for the test series, was metres away from the Sri Lanka coach when the attack took place as the vehicle approached the stadium.

"We talk about foreign teams coming to Pakistan... providing them top security. After what happened today, I don't see any team coming to Pakistan for a while," he said.

Difficult task

Waqar's sentiments were echoed by another former captain, Javed Miandad, who believes the attack was a massive body blow to Pakistan cricket.

"It is going to be very difficult for us to now convince teams that they can play the World Cup in Pakistan safely," he said.

Saleem Altaf, chief operating officer of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said they had received messages of support from the ICC and other member boards but recognised there was concern.

"I would say today's incident would only increase these concerns. But no decision has been taken to move away the matches," he said.

Waqar pointed out that with the security situation in Sri Lanka also considered volatile, he expected the ICC to take the World Cup away from the sub-continent.

A third former captain, Rashid Latif, said he was shocked by the events in Lahore.

"Cricketers have never been attacked in Pakistan despite what the situation has been in the country. Today is a black day for Pakistan cricket and Pakistan," he said.
Lorgat added: "It's difficult to see international cricket being played in Pakistan for the foreseeable future".

Mani agreed, saying: "Cricketers are vulnerable and it is very unrealistic to think teams will play in Pakistan in the short term, maybe for two or three years.

"It is very sad but I am afraid using neutral venues to play matches is going to happen more and more.

"It has only been Asian teams who have wanted to visit Pakistan recently, India were there last year, but now a team has been targeted, this changes things greatly."

Source:
Agencies
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