World Cup 2011: Ijaz advises ICC not to schedule Pakistan’s matches in India

KARACHI, Oct 9: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has informally advised the ICC to avoid scheduling any of their 2011 World Cup matches in India which they fear can trigger political or diplomatic complications.

Sources revealed that Ijaz, who returned from South Africa after attending the ICC executive board meeting, had conveyed this to the game’s world governing body recently. “Even the ICC is aware of the tense relation between the two countries and not keen to take any risks. Pakistan has also indicated it would be more comfortable playing maximum number of matches in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” the source said.

However, the PCB chief, on his return hoped bilateral relationship with India would improve by 2011 World Cup and also reiterated that PCB will follow government’s decision about allowing players to tour the country for the quadrennial event. “We will do whatever the government tells us to do in this regard. But hopefully by 2011 relations between the two countries would have improved quite a bit,” he added.

The ICC board announced the groupings of the 2011 World Cup earlier this week but the schedule of matches and venues will be finalised by next year.

India and Pakistan have been kept in separate groups, meaning they will not clash in the preliminary round of the World Cup, matches of which were earlier shifted out of the trouble-torn country by the ICC due to security concerns. The mega event will now be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Bilateral relations have hit a low since Mumbai terror attacks last November, for which India has blamed terrorists operating from Pakistani territory.

Ijaz, however, declined to comment on reports that Pakistan was trying to use all avenues to convince the BCCI to resume the bilateral cricket with Pakistan even at neutral venues.

“When something concrete happens everyone will know about it. That is why I don’t want to make any comment on this issue,” he said.

Sources said that Ijaz had utilised his time in South Africa to improve relation with other boards and resume the international cricket in Pakistan by the next year.

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