The battle to win the right to host the 2011 World Cup is likely to go down to the wire with Shaharyar Khan, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, confirming that Australia and New Zealand have refused to stand down in favour of Asia's bid.
"Yes it's true that Australia and New Zealand are insistent that they should get the hosting rights of the tournament as they say they last hosted it in 1992," Shaharyar told the Daily News. "The ICC has acknowledged our bid but we face stiff competition from Australia and New Zealand who are also very keen to host the 2011 World Cup."
Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh submitted their joint bid to the ICC on Thursday following a series of meetings between top officials over the past two weeks. A fair amount of time had been spent preparing a compliance document, a mandatory submission for the bid itself. The ICC had earlier given the Asian bloc an extension in the deadline for the submission of their bid from February.
Shaharyar said that the four South Asian countries had a very strong case as three tournaments have been held since the prestigious competition was last held in the subcontinent. "The general feeling in the ICC is that a country should only get a turn after three World Cups," he said. "And we fulfill that requirement, specially considering the amount of interest and money for cricket in this region."
Shaharyar added that the ICC Executive Board members would meet in Dubai on April 30 to discuss the two bids and there were chances a decision would be made on the hosts. "We've not decided as yet where the semifinals and final would be held because this would only be decided once the tournament is awarded to us," he said. "But we have agreed that India will organise 22 games, we'll stage 16 matches, Sri Lanka nine and Bangladesh six. I think we are very well prepared and there is very good coordination among the four countries on this tournament."