ICL: Indian Cricket League

Pakistan to push for shorter WC format


Pakistan will push for ‘a shorter and more practical’ format for the 2011 Cricket World Cup which they are to co-host with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

In a series of meetings to be held on the sidelines of the final Pakistan-India Test in the South Indian city of Bangalore later this week, a top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official will try to convince representatives of the three other host boards to agree on a World Cup format featuring 14 teams and the duration of the quadrennial spectacle be reduced to five weeks.

“We want to have a relatively smaller World Cup in 2011 both in terms of participating teams and the number of days,” Shafqat Naghmi, PCB’s Chief Operating Officer told ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

“The idea is to ensure that our World Cup doesn’t have the sort of ingredients that affected this year’s tournament in the West Indies,” he added. At the 2007 edition of the World Cup held in the Caribbean, a total of 16 teams competed and the tournament stretched over more than 50 days.

The participating teams were divided into four groups with the top two sides from each pool advancing to the Super Eights stage. The format which was expected to add excitement to the tournament backfired when India and Pakistan — two of the event’s top draws — were bundled out in the first round.

“We are least interested in the 2007 World Cup format because it has been seen that one bad day can end the World Cup for even the best of teams,” Naghmi said adding that neither Pakistan, India nor the other two co-hosts would want to see their teams bowing out before the start of the second round.

He said that the PCB was more interested in reverting to the format of the 2003 World Cup held in South Africa in which the 14 participating teams were divided into two groups. The league stage is then followed by the knock-out rounds.

“Such a format guarantees that each of the competing teams will get at least six matches in the competition,” Naghmi said. “It will also guarantee that the tournament will take lesser days to finish,” he said adding that one of the biggest reasons why the 2007 World Cup failed to live up to expectations was its long duration.

Naghmi said that another format to be discussed during the Bangalore moot to be held from December 7-9 would guarantee second-round places for the world’s top eight teams while the bottom-placed six teams will compete in the opening round.

“This is our second option though such a format would give the World Cup a slow start with only the lower-ranked teams playing in the initial days,” said the PCB official. Top officials of the four host board would meet in Bangalore on December 7 and 8 before being joined by a representative of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on December 9.

“The ICC will have the final say on the World Cup format but we believe if the host boards agree on a unified stand then they (ICC) will also give its approval,” said Naghmi. After the meetings on the 2011 World Cup, top officials of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will also meet in Bangalore on December 10. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Nasim Ashraf, who is currently in the United States, will attend the moot.

Source:Cricket News

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