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Australia, NZ rope in PMs
- 2011 World Cup ‘Excellent’ submission by Asia’s rivals

Kochi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has completed its “evaluation” of Australia and New Zealand’s joint submission to host the 2011 World Cup. According to The Telegraph’s sources, they’ve done an “excellent” job.

The four Asian Test-playing nations ' India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh ' are also in contention and must meet the requirements afresh by April 21. Their joint submission last month was, to quote sources, “messy” and the deadline extended as a one-off.

The evaluation is step No. 2. Incidentally, there’s no financial bidding.

Apparently, the extension was given only after the ICC got the Board of Control for Cricket in India to agree on participating in the Twenty20 World Cup’s second edition, in 2009. Participation in the inaugural meet, next year, won’t be mandatory for those Test-playing nations which don’t conduct Twenty20 tournaments.

Significantly, “covering letters” from Australian Prime Minister John Howard and New Zealand’s Helen Clark feature in the joint submission by the countries, which together hosted the 1992 World Cup. Asia’s first submission didn’t have a “covering letter” from any head of government.

One learns even England’s submission for the 2015 edition has been accompanied by a covering letter (addressed to outgoing ICC president Ehsan Mani) from Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Nothing can be said for certain, at this stage, but it seems Australia and New Zealand may back off if assured of hosting the 2015 World Cup. But, then, England won’t withdraw unless the ICC gives an undertaking that it will host the one in 2019.

Of course, for that chain to be set in motion, Asia’s submission has to pass muster. The World Cup has already come to the continent twice ' in 1987 (jointly hosted by India, Pakistan) and in 1996 (co-hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka).

Mani is in town, but declined to talk about the submissions. “We’re meeting (in Dubai) at the end of the month... Please appreciate that I can’t comment till we’ve taken a decision,” he said on Thursday afternoon.

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