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April 27, 2006
Sharad Pawar, the president of the Indian board, has said that the BCCI was not opposed to either the Champions Trophy or Twenty20 as long as there was a consensus between all the members of the ICC.
"We met and discussed about it. Although we are not favourable [to Twenty20], ultimately if a decision is taken unanimously in ICC, we will respect it," Pawar told PTI after the launch of the Champions Trophy in Delhi.
This softening of stance came after the Indian board had earlier opposed the scheduling of the Champions Trophy in October. "We're not free in October in 2007, 2008 or 2009," Lalit Modi, the BCCI vice-president, had said in January. "We have made our position clear to the ICC many times. If others want to play, they can, but why should we play in October? We've not signed any agreement to play in future editions and we've made our position very clear to the ICC many times."
But Pawar said that Modi's comments, including those that the BCCI could earn more by playing a bilateral series rather than the Champions Trophy, were "his personal view. It is not the view of BCCI.
"The ICC finalised the schedule after consultations with us. We had full knowledge of the schedule and we totally agree to it," said Pawar. "It is a very important event for world cricket and we are looking forward to work in partnership with ICC to deliver an exceptional tournament."
Pawar's comments came three days before the ICC announce the hosts for the 2011 World Cup for which Asia have placed a bid. "Our claim is a rightful one. Our proposal is not about India alone," said Pawar. "To see matches being held in more countries would mean more participation, we hope to get this opportunity."
However, Eshan Mani, the ICC president, did not speculate on who would win the bid. "Asia is important for World Cup and ICC," said Mani. "We made an important decision in Sydney recently that every third World Cup would be held in Asia. It is not something I can speculate on. We have to ensure a level playing field for all. We remain neutral. India is an important member. But ultimately it is a decision which is to be made by the [ICC] board which requires support of seven countries."
Asia last hosted a World Cup in 1996 after which the tournament has been held in England and South Africa and will be held for the first time in the West Indies in 2007.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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