Confusion prevails over venue for World Cup final
Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, has sparked confusion over the choice of venue for the final of the 2011 World Cup to be jointly held in the four subcontinent cricketing countries.
Addressing a press conference at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Ashraf told reporters, "I don't think the allotment of matches or the venue for the final is done as yet. We are holding a joint meeting in India on December 11 to discuss these issues."
The remarks appear to contradict an agreement reached between the co-hosts in July which allocated 22 matches to India, 16 to Pakistan, nine to Sri Lanka and six to Bangladesh. It was decided then that one semi-final was to be held in Sri Lanka, one in Pakistan and the final in India. At the time of the agreement, Shaharyar Khan was chairman of the Pakistan board, though it doesn't appear that any agreement has been put down in writing.
In response, a senior Indian board official only said, "Since India have not been allotted either of the semi-finals it should naturally follow that the final comes to India, especially considering our successful staging of the Champions Trophy." However, the same official would not say that the matter was cast in stone. He said, "It's still five years away, and a lot could happen between now and then."
All four boards are scheduled to attend the meeting in New Delhi on December 11 to discuss issues relating to the 2011 World Cup and it is believed that Pakistan, under the new chairman, may well ask for the scheduling to be looked at again. In particular, a source close to the board told Cricinfo, Pakistan feels it should be allocated more matches than the current 16 it has.
"Pakistan had 16 matches during the 1996 World Cup but the tournament is bigger now than it was then," the source said. "There are more matches now, so the quota of games Pakistan should be higher. But we are working for an amicable solution to the situation."
Also expected to be on the agenda during the meeting will be the formation of the Central Organising Committee (COC), a joint body that will coordinate organisational matters between the hosts. Of relevance will be where the headquarters of the COC will be based and the make-up of the body in terms of members from each board.
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo