International cricket must go on, but not in Pakistan: ICC (Lead)

March 4th, 2009 - 12:04 am ICT by IANS  

London, March 3 (IANS) The International Cricket Council (ICC) Tuesday vowed to keep the game alive despite a terror attack wounding six Sri Lankan players in Lahore but scratched Pakistan out of the list of venues for international matches in the foreseeable future.

“The world is a dangerous place but cricket must go on. It will go on. It’s a great game and a great solace to so many people,” declared a somber-looking ICC President David Morgan at a hurriedly-convened news conference here.

Morgan and ICC Chief Executive Haroon Logat, under sustained questioning from reporters, indicated the 2011 World Cup, set to be staged in the Indian subcontinent may now be held in only three countries - India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“The World Cup is due to be staged in the Indian subcontinent shared between four countries. That is the current plan, but the ICC board will have to think very carefully about the extent to which Pakistan will be used for that event,” Morgan said.

“I think it’s difficult to see international cricket being played in Pakistan in the foreseeable future,” Logat said, and spelt out the choice for Pakistani cricketers: “It’s better that Pakistan chooses to play cricket in neutral venues rather than not play at all.”

The ICC board is to meet in mid-April for a detailed discussion on the World Cup with the Organising Committee headed by ICC Vice President Sharad Pawar.

However, Logat insisted that security arrangements for bilateral tours, such as the one between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, were the direct responsibilities of the two playing countries rather than the ICC, which can only get involved if specifically asked.

Logat revealed that the Sri Lankan cricket board had been specifically warned about the risks of playing in Pakistan, but had overruled the advice after its own risks assessment.

“I know for a fact that post the regime change in Pakistan, once Musharraf went”, the advice the ICC then got from its security advisers was that they had more confidence under the previous regime.

“And that’s one of the reasons why we were not confident about holding the Champions Trophy” in Pakistan.

Logat said the advise was passed on to the Sri Lankans, but that the Sri Lankans held their own security assessment and they were “satisfied with the intelligence that they gathered about the security that they were provided”.

Morgan and Logat said all ICC board members were made aware of that information.

Morgan dismissed suggestions that the subcontinent was a more dangerous place to stage international cricket matches, saying: “It (the attack) has completely changed the landscape, but it’s changed the landscape full stop - not just in the Indian subcontinent.”

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