The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The ICC president must be neutral, says BCCI
- Asia’s joint effort to host 2011 world cup

Calcutta: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is spearheading Asia’s effort to host the 2011 World Cup, is upset with International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani for his comments in Karachi.

Mani, whose roots are in Pakistan, was quoted as saying that the “late submission” of the compliance book/manual had “weakened” Asia in its face-off with Australia-New Zealand.

As there’s no financial component, technically, it’s not a bid.

“We don’t expect Mani to favour Asia, but we don’t expect him to hurt our chances either,” somebody very influential in the BCCI told The Telegraph.

Speaking on Wednesday, the gentleman added: “Mani is going to chair the April 30 meeting (of the Executive Board, in Dubai) to decide on the hosts' He must be neutral.

“Indeed, if the president had to take a negative line yesterday (while the evaluation is underway), then the ICC shouldn’t have allowed Asia an extension for sending the compliance report'”

The BCCI’s displeasure, one understands, is likely to be conveyed to Mani on Thursday when he interacts with key officials in New Delhi.

The signing of the host nation agreement, between the BCCI and the ICC, plus the formal launch of the 2006 Champions Trophy is slated for the afternoon.

As reported in these columns on April 7, Asia’s Big Four sought an extension (for submitting the compliance book/manual) as the first ‘effort’, according to top sources, was “messy.”

The ICC agreed, but only after engaging in arm-twisting on the Twenty20 front ' a format which hadn’t quite enthused the BCCI.

The extension, though, didn’t amuse Australia and New Zealand. Their “compliance report,” after all, had been excellent and included covering letters from the respective Prime Ministers.

Meanwhile, one learns the Asian nations won’t withdraw even if the Executive Board gives an undertaking that the 2015 edition will be awarded to the region.

As of now, unless there’s some give-and-take, an impasse can’t be ruled out on Sunday.

The World Cup has already come to Asia twice ' 1987 and 1996 ' while Australia and New Zealand were joint hosts in 1992.

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