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Khan calls for 2011 World Cup venue swap

CRICKET: DUBAI, April 25, 2009: Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan said Friday international cricket authorities should swap the 2011 and 2015 World Cup venues, rather than deprive Pakistan of its matches in the earlier tournament.

"Pakistan should have gathered the support of its Asian partners and swapped the 2011 World Cup with Australia (and New Zealand) because the situation could improve by 2015," Khan said in an interview with AFP.

The 2011 event was scheduled for India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh but the International Cricket Council (ICC) has stripped Pakistan of these matches because of the country's "uncertain security situation."

Khan's appeal for a swap with 2015 co-hosts Australia and New Zealand echoes a call made this week by Javed Miandad, the director-general of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Miandad made the call for a swap with the 2015 hosts after the PCB filed a protest against the ICC's decision to deprive Pakistan of its World Cup matches.

However, Khan, who is in Dubai for the relocated Pakistan-Australia limited overs series, said there was no question of Pakistan hosting international cricket in the near future, because it was now caught up in someone else's war. "I would blame the governments of (former military ruler) Pervez Musharraf and (current president) Asif Zardari for the situation," said Khan, who heads his own political party - Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice).

"We are fighting the United States' war in the region and Musharraf dragged us into it... Investors and sportsmen are not willing to come, so we are bearing the loss," he said.

"Until it's finished there is no chance of cricket.

"Why was Pakistan was dragged into the war, because no Pakistani was involved in the 9/11 attacks on the US," said Khan.

"But we have become involved in it and now there is an enormous loss of life, finances and cricket."

Khan, who in 1992 captained his country to its only World Cup title, said Pakistan was also paying the price for failing to provide adequate security for the Sri Lanka team, which was attacked in Lahore last month.

"Had we provided the presidential level of security we promised the Sri Lankan team we would definitely have been hosting more cricket, but that event hit us badly," said Khan.

The attacks on the team as it approached the Gaddafi Stadium for the second Test, killed eight Pakistanis and injured seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach.

After growing concerns about the safety of cricket tours to Pakistan, the attack prompted the ICC to reallocate Pakistan's 16 World Cup venues to the tournament's other South Asian hosts. "Pakistan is left with no opportunity," said Khan.

"The players have been suffering because of poor first-class structure and, with no international cricket, the revenues are on the verge of bankruptcy."

AFP

 

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