India Behind World Cup Move from Pakistan: Mani


Abu Dhabi, May 4: A former president of cricket's governing body Sunday accused India of being behind the decision to shift World Cup 2011 matches away from Pakistan which has further isolated the troubled country.

"The decision to move the World Cup out of Pakistan was ill-conceived and taken in haste and I am afraid to say that India has a big hand in this (decision)," Ehsan Mani, former president of the International Cricket Council (ICC), said.

The ICC last month stripped Pakistan of its share of World Cup matches, citing the "uncertain security situation" in the country as the reason for its decision. The matches will now be held in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Pakistan had become an unsafe venue for international matches following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March which left seven players and their assistant coach injured besides killing eight policemen.

Mani, who is from Pakistan, said the decision on the World Cup was not on the agenda of the meeting.

"From what I have heard, seen and spoken to PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) and number of other people, it wasn't on the agenda at all in the meeting, the issue on the agenda was security situation in Pakistan after attacks on the Sri Lankan team.

"If the intention of the ICC and its members was to move the World Cup 2011 away from Pakistan, it should have been properly discussed, proper concept papers should have gone out so that the PCB could have been prepared.

"A decision of this magnitude should have been discussed at length but I am afraid it's an ill-conceived decision made in haste."

Mani -- who was ICC president between 2003 and 2006 -- said the World Cup was awarded to four countries and not one.

"I was the president when the WC 2011 was awarded to four countries, not awarded to individual countries, and these four countries were committed to provide a security assessment 18 months before, which is August 2009, so I question why they made it in April," said Mani.

"India is taking control and just claiming they will host all matches, it's totally unacceptable," said Mani of India who will now host 29 matches, Sri Lanka 12 and Bangladesh eight.

Mani also blamed India for isolating its old rival Pakistan.

"I believe that is the case (isolating Pakistan). I believe politics is mixed into cricket. Pakistan and India have got together, even at the time of uncertain political situation and it was historic that Pakistan and India revived cricket in 2004.

"Cricket should cut all barriers and should not be used as it is used by our neighbours to isolate Pakistan," he said.

Mani also backed suggestions from former Pakistan captains Imran Khan and Javed Miandad that South Asia should have swapped World Cups with Australia and New Zealand.

"It would have been logical that all the countries should have got together and swapped the World Cup 2011 with Australia who were due to host the 2015 World Cup as situation in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is not good either.

"But the reason why it's not happening is the next ICC president will be from India and he would not like this to happen in India when he is the president," said Mani of Sharad Pawar, the next ICC president.

Mani said he would make every effort to convince the ICC to allow Pakistan to host its World Cup matches at the neutral venues of Abu Dhabi and Dubai where Pakistan are currently playing their One-day series against Australia. 


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