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Windies play ball, Asia catches Cup
- Cricket spectacle to return for the third time in 2011

Calcutta, April 30: Three decades ago, Clive Lloyd’s quicks were accused of being indifferent towards the spirit of cricket. That they were obsessed with short-term results and relied on the short-pitched stuff.

This afternoon, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) kept the larger picture in mind and, by supporting Asia’s intent to host the 2011 World Cup, prevented a damaging stalemate in Dubai.

That the West Indies’ stand would determine whether the quadrennial showpiece came to Asia for a third time was, in fact, reported by The Telegraph today.

Till last night, within the International Cricket Council’s Executive Board, Asia had the backing of six full (Test-playing) members and efforts were on for a commitment from the 2007 hosts.

That probably came through after the WICB received a “written undertaking” that Asia would help generate much-needed revenue via fund-raisers in North America.

India and Pakistan are already looking at playing there over the next five years.

It’s not confirmed, but South Africa and Zimbabwe’s support didn’t come through without any sweat either.

It seems they were “cut up” with Asia for indifference towards the Afro-Asian Cricket Cooperation after the end of architect Jagmohan Dalmiya’s innings in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Apparently, Asia’s bigwigs had to mount a quick damage control operation.

Given the arithmetic, with Asia straightaway having four full members’ votes, Australia-New Zealand couldn’t have pocketed the required seven of the 10.

At best, then, Australia-New Zealand would have emerged spoilers had the West Indies not aligned with Asia.

That didn’t happen and Australia-New Zealand will now host the 2015 edition. England have got the 2019 World Cup.

Significantly, the principle of Asia getting to ‘bid’ for every third World Cup, put in black-and-white during last October’s Executive Board meeting in Sydney, got confirmed.

“We’re very happy about it,” remarked former BCCI president Inderjit Singh Bindra, who did much of Asia’s work.

Accordingly, the 2023 and 2035 World Cups are going to be hosted by Asia.

Bindra, of course, didn’t forget to thank Australia-New Zealand “for being so sporting” and allowing Asia to submit the Compliance Book well beyond the scheduled date.

It lists compliance with tax exemptions, ambush marketing legislation, customs exemptions, removal of ticketing restrictions and much more.

With dollar-bids a thing of the past, meeting those requirements alone counts.

“Australia and New Zealand could have made it an issue. They didn’t,” Bindra pointed out, adding all delegates had been invited to a dinner (hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) to celebrate the occasion.

Actually, some in the fraternity feel Asia wouldn’t have had to lobby hard with, for example, the WICB had the Compliance Book been submitted on time.

Their contention is that the Sydney meeting had, in any case, given the first right for 2011 to Asia.

Whatever, it still is cause for rejoicing. However, many venues ' particularly in India ' need to be upgraded.

The World Cup first came to Asia in 1987 when jointly hosted by India and Pakistan. In 1996, after a row which almost split the world body, it was co-hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

In 2011, Bindra has promised a World Cup as “big” as soccer’s show-stopper.

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