Melbourne, Dec.1 : Given the frequency of terror strikes in both India and Pakistan and the unstable political situation in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, there is a possibility of the International Cricket Council (ICC) seriously considering a proposal to shift the 2011 cricket World Cup to Australia and New Zealand.
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are scheduled to stage cricket's marquee tournament in February and March of 2011,but a meeting of ICC CEOs in South Africa next weekend is likely to consider putting another country or countries on standby to host the event.
According to Fox Sports, Australia and New Zealand will host the World Cup in 2015.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said safety and security issues surrounding the 2011 World Cup were "bound to come up" next weekend.
"It hasn't been talked about but that may well have changed out of this Mumbai incident but one would hope the World Cup and other events that are planned for various places in the sub-continent can go ahead as planned. But there will be plenty of things that will need to be planned in the fullness of time," he said.
Australia was put on standby to host the 2007 World Cup when it appeared the West Indies were labouring in their attempts to have new stadiums and general infrastructure built on time.
Sutherland said he did not know if another country had already been put on standby for the 2011 tournament, and was non-committal when asked if Australia would have enough time to prepare for the event if it was switched. "I don't know the answer to that," he said.
"It's something that down the track would need to be looked at, but we are very keen for it to go ahead where it has already been allocated. Let's see how things settle down after the tragic events of Mumbai."
ICC spokesman James Fitzgerald said there had yet to be any discussions about shifting the tournament.
An Australian team source said if the bloodshed and political uncertainty continued in the four cricketing nations then players may be loathe to make the trip.
Several tours of Pakistan have been cancelled for security reasons while Federal Government advice encourages Australians to avoid Sri Lanka (civil war) and Bangladesh (general trouble).
These countries are all but certain to resist any attempt to shift the billion-dollar tournament, even though the ICC recently criticized them for being 10 months behind in preparations.
Former Australian captain Greg Chappell said the Mumbai terror rampage will now change the players' perspective on India.
"It will have a profound effect, I think, on cricket and where and how tournaments are conducted," he said.
Story first published: Monday, December 1, 2008, 12:35 [IST]
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