England captains have been two-a-penny in the past few months, but if Paul Collingwood looked a little nervous as he faced the media on the eve of his return to the role, it was not because he has taken over a sinking ship in the manner of his immediate predecessors, Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen. Quite the opposite in fact.
Dilawar Mani, the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council, will be meeting the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt in the coming week to discuss the possibility of Pakistan hosting their World Cup matches at Abu Dhabi as a neutral venue. Pakistan’s share of matches in the 2011 World Cup were taken away by the ICC due to concerns over security in the aftermath of the shootings in Lahore, where gunmen targeted a team bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers.
The PCB will sit down with the ICC and World Cup hosts India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, in Dubai on June 3 to try and reach an out-of-court settlement over the 2011 World Cup dispute that saw Pakistan’s share of matches taken away over security concerns. Since the decision in April – taken after the terrorist attacks on Sri Lanka in Lahore in March – Pakistan and the ICC have been locked in a legal wrangle; the PCB filed a notice over the decision, calling it discriminatory and illegal and arguing that the correct procedures had not been followed. The meeting is the first indication of any kind that the impasse may be resolved outside of a courtroom.
Pakistan has embarked on a diplomatic bid to retrieve what benefits it still can from the 2011 World Cup and narrow the widening rift that seems to have developed between it and the Asian bloc, after the ICC unanimously voted last month that Pakistan would not be the location for any of the matches.
Pakistan has put forward two options as it strives to retrieve what benefits it still can from the 2011 World Cup. In a meeting with Sri Lanka board counterparts, Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan board chairman, suggested a swap for World Cups or for the subcontinent boards to jointly ask the ICC to allow Pakistan to present alternate solutions.
Javed Miandad argued in International Cricket Council’s recent Dubai meeting that if Pakistan is unsafe to host 2011 World Cup matches, India is not a safe venue either.
Steve Tikolo says he has stepped down as Kenya’s captain after helping the team qualify for the 2011 World Cup. He will, however, play with the national team for the next two years before retiring from the game.
It took 12 teams 54 matches spread over 19 days to determine the best of the rest, the countries next in the queue for an ICC handout and those fortunate four who will play in the 2011 World Cup. The ICC World Cup Qualifiers lurked deferentially in the shadow of the looming Indian Premier League, yet held its own as the Associates’ showcase event and even inducted a war-torn nation as one of the sport’s own. Beat that, Mr Modi.
Pakistan, forced to play here because of concerns about safety back home, will aim to capitalise on world champions Australia’s slump in form in a five-match one-day series starting on Wednesday (tomorrow).
Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, has said that 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.