2011 World Cup April 19, 2009

Pakistan sports minister urges ICC to reconsider decision

Cricinfo staff

Pakistan sports minister Pir Aftab Shah Jillani has asked the ICC to review its decision to shift the 2011 World Cup matches from the country due to security reasons. He said the ICC's decision was a big blow to Pakistan cricket and believed the decision was too premature considering there were still two years left for the tournament.

Jillani said the government was even willing to use the military to provide security and protection for the World Cup matches in Pakistan. "That was an option available to us but I think the ICC has acted in haste and must reconsider its decision as this could have far ranging effects on Pakistan and its cricket set-up," he told PTI.

The ICC executive board made its decision following a meeting on Friday, citing the "uncertain security situation" in Pakistan in the aftermath of the Lahore terror attacks on March 3, when six policemen and two civilians were killed as gunmen fired at the Sri Lankan team bus.

The ICC had also said that Pakistan was unlikely to resume hosting any tournament at all until 2011. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the other co-hosts for the World Cup, will now be hosting the 14 matches, including one semi-final, originally scheduled to be held in Pakistan.

Jillani criticised the PCB for failing to convince the ICC and its member countries to stage the World Cup matches in Pakistan. "They [PCB] could have done more then they did," he said. "I don't think they did their homework well enough to contest this move to shift the World Cup matches from Pakistan."

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam had also voiced his displeasure earlier and said the move to strip Pakistan of the rights to host the 2011 World Cup is "unjust" and a blow that, he said, would be hard to overcome.