Pakistan World Cup hosting in doubt

Last updated 09:34 16/04/2009

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Pakistan could lose its right to co-host the 2011 World Cup as a result of last month's terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore when the International Cricket Council Board meets Friday to discuss security in the game.

Six police officers and a driver were killed by heavily armed gunman in the attack on March 3, and seven Sri Lankan players, a coach and an umpire were wounded. Survivors will give detailed accounts of the incident as well as the much-criticised security arrangements.

The Sri Lankan team was attacked as it approached the stadium in Lahore before the scheduled third day of the second test against Pakistan. The match was abandoned and the injured Sri Lankans flew home.

Chris Broad, who was the ICC match referee and escaped injury in the attack, has been strongly critical of the security arrangements and said the Sri Lankan cricketers and those travelling with them were "sitting ducks."

He will give his own account to the ICC Board, which will also hear from rival captains Younus Khan of Pakistan and Mahela Jaywardena of Sri Lanka by telephone.

The attack has already led to a halt to all international cricket in Pakistan in the near future, casting doubt on the country co-hosting the next World Cup along with neighbours India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Security issues in the whole region have led to other changes in cricket's calendar.

The Indian Premier League has been forced to move its matches to South Africa because the Indian government, anxious that the event clashed with regional elections, feared that security forces would be stretched too thinly to cover both events.

At its two-day meeting, the ICC Board will also reassess the status of cricket in Zimbabwe after hearing from an independent report by a task forced headed by West Indies Cricket Board president Julian Hunte.

Although it retains its ICC status and plays one-day internationals, Zimbabwe has been excluded from Test cricket since 2006 with the governments of some of its rivals unhappy at security arrangements in the country.

-AP

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