Calcutta: With South Africa and Zimbabwe indicating “hundred per cent” support for Asia, the West Indies’ stand will determine whether the 2011 World Cup is going to be held in a region which has already hosted cricket’s biggest event twice.
That, indeed, was the equation late on Saturday ' some hours before the International Cricket Council (ICC) Executive Board’s meeting in Dubai.
If the agenda is adhered to, Sunday is also when the 2015 host will be identified.
“The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is being strongly wooed by Asia and, I reckon, by Australia-New Zealand as well' It has emerged a key player,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph.
Apparently, Asia has “promised” that the biggest crowd-pullers (India and Pakistan) are going to help generate revenue for the cash-strapped WICB, which is hosting the 2007 edition.
That, one learns, could be through fund-raising ODIs in the USA and Canada.
Speaking from Dubai, the source added: “There was a time, not too long ago, when Asia couldn’t have taken South Africa and Zimbabwe’s backing for granted. That, however, has changed'”
Confirmation came from former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Inderjit Singh Bindra, who is spearheading Asia’s effort: “We do have the support of six Full Members' It’s a question of getting the seventh'”
He continued: “Realistically, we’ve got a good chance' But, then, nothing is done till it actually is' I’m missing Jaggu (Jagmohan Dalmiya)' Both of us, after all, had worked together to get the 1996 World Cup to Asia'”
Bindra and Dalmiya drifted apart a year later and many believe the former has been playing the biggest behind-the-scenes role in turning the heat on Dalmiya in recent months.
Yet, as Bindra (who will again represent the BCCI) put it, “there are occasions when one gets sentimental... Today is one such.”
Constitutionally, for either Asia or Australia-New Zealand to be successful, the backing of seven Full (Test-playing) Members is mandatory. That ensures a majority in the 13-member Executive Board, too.
By rotation, the Associate and Affiliate Members have three nominees.
With Asia’s Big Four ' India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh ' pitching jointly, three more votes are going to be enough.
It’s confirmed (to the extent possible) that South Africa and Zimbabwe will extend support and, so, the only floating vote is the West Indies’.
England, as of now, are committed to backing Australia-New Zealand, the hosts in 1992.
Clearly, in a straightforward numbers game (of Full Members), Australia-New Zealand can’t make it. The arithmetic is simple.
While the three Associates ' Israel, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates ' may not count for too much in normal circumstances, they’re going to be important if there’s a “constitutional stalemate.”
According to another well-placed source, ICC president Ehsan Mani can then suggest that the Executive Board “respect” the sentiments reflected by the overall votes ' including the three Associates’.
There’s talk that the “numbers factor” could see Australia-New Zealand withdraw on condition that the 2015 World Cup is theirs.
That’s to be seen.
Moreover, England will then have to back out from 2015 and, surely, the England & Wales Cricket Board won’t do so unless the 2019 edition is given to them in black-and-white.
A move is underway.