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2011 World Cup

Australia and New Zealand on standby for World Cup

Cricinfo staff

February 22, 2010

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Justin Vaughan, New Zealand cricket's chief executive
Justin Vaughan: "I'd go to Iraq, if the right security was in place." © Getty Images
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Australia and New Zealand are believed to be part of a contingency plan to shift the 2011 World Cup out of the subcontinent due to security threats. Justin Vaughan, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive, admitted to such a move, but was hopeful that the tournament would go ahead as planned. He also said that New Zealand would tour India as scheduled at the end of the year.

"You cannot move the timing of the tournament [the World Cup], in March-April, so really there's only Australia-New Zealand and South Africa who could host it," Vaughan told Stuff.co.nz. "Obviously, players need to be safe, but we cannot run away when a threat is made. By tightening the security measures around the teams we somehow have to make it safe otherwise the sport will struggle to survive if we cannot find a solution.

"We've got to find a way to make this work because Asia is the heartbeat of cricket in the present day."

Vaughan said that assessing security for the India tour would also be critical. "India is so important and you cannot envisage a scenario when you cannot tour India - it's not worth thinking about," he said. "The host's security plans are vital. I'd go anywhere in the world if there was the right security plan. I'd go to Iraq, if the right security was in place."

However, Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, assured that major cricket nations would work in unison to ensure the World Cup did not fall prey to terrorism. "The World Cup is the big piece of work that we have to deliver - and we intend to do so," Lorgat told the Guardian. "The whole issue of security is dynamic, but we will assess it very carefully and implement whatever measures are necessary to ensure safety and security. I do not share the same concerns for India as Pakistan.

"We have established a quality network of security managers at each of the full member boards and through that we can develop a far better co-ordinated approach to safety and security."

Security fears regarding the upcoming IPL have intensified after the 313 Brigade, Al-Qaeda's operational arm in Pakistan, issued a warning to "the international community" not to send its representatives to major sports events being staged in India.

While Tim May, the chief executive of FICA, the international players' union, has warned of a spate of player withdrawals from the tournament due to security concerns, England team's security adviser Reg Dickason said the threat from the 313 Brigade was credible and that security could not be guaranteed in India.

Other reported threats targeting the Commonwealth Games and the Hockey World Cup, both due to be hosted in India this year, have worsened the situation. Earlier, the Shiv Sena, a right-wing regional political party, had claimed it would not allow Australian cricketers to participate in the competition as a protest against attacks on Indian students in Australia.

The 2011 World Cup is scheduled to be played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from February 19-April 2 after Pakistan was ruled out as a co-host following a terrorist attack on touring Sri Lankan players in Lahore in March last year.

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

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