ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi authorities have said that a formal approach has been made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to host their share of World Cup 2011 matches. The PCB chairman Ijaz Butt will hold talks with the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council (ADCC) president Dilawar Mani tomorrow to discuss plans to stage Pakistan's 14 matches which were taken away by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Pakistan along with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were the original co-hosts.
Butt is currently in South Africa to watch tonight's Indian Premier League final and meet the officials of the South Africa and Zimbabwe cricket boards. He will make a stopover in Abu Dhabi for a meeting with Mani. Abu Dhabi played host to Pakistan's aborted one-day international series with Australia and talks are on for a similar arrangment with New Zealand in the autumn. Mani asserted that the capital was always ready to host Pakistan's fixtures, including the World Cup, saying: "We have always maintained Abu Dhabi was available for them as a neutral venue.
"We have had a cordial relationship with the PCB and are willing to pitch in our support at this time of difficulty. Pakistan have featured in all the three competitions in Abu Dhabi and played three of their five ODI matches with Australia last month. "We are even willing to do more to help in the organisational and logistics aspects for having matches here until normalcy returns for cricket in Pakistan.
"We are looking at a broader base with Dubai included. But I will be touching mainly on the matches in Abu Dhabi. The venue is always available and it is for the PCB to decide - the World Cup or the series with New Zealand. We are open to all the options." After the attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team's bus in Lahore on March 3, the ICC responded by taking away the matches from Pakistan. The Central Organising Committee then redistributed the matches among the remaining three host countries and removed the Secretariat from Lahore to Mumbai.
Each host country gets a match fee of US$750,000 (Dh2.6million) plus full gate money receipts and revenue from hospitality. By not having its matches, Pakistan stood to lose $10million even as the ICC clarified that the status of Pakistan remained as a co-host. Pakistan has sought legal action against the ICC prompting them to hold a meeting on June 3 along with the other co-hosts. Any plans to have the World Cup at a neutral venue will now require the approval of every concerned party.
Earlier this week, Butt revealed the PCB were presenting a security plan for Pakistan's venues but, failing that, they would propose a neural venue. Butt claimed to have had fruitful talks with Sri Lanka and India last week but the new event director Ratnakar Shetty said: "What is the meaning of host country ? How can they play their matches outside ?" email@example.com