India's non-compliance almost cost Asia 2011 WC bid

The sub-continent's joint bid for 2011 Cricket World Cup ran the scare of hitting the rocks because of India's "non-compliance".

updated: July 09, 2009 11:28 IST
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The sub-continent's joint bid for 2011 Cricket World Cup ran the scare of hitting the rocks because of India's "non-compliance" to fulfill ICC conditions for the quadrennial event in time, disclosed former Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shaharyar Khan in his latest book.

The deadline to submit the required data to the International Cricket Council was in March 2006 but it had to be extended to April 21 as four Asian nations India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were still to be ready with their documents.

" January 2006, the four Asian representatives gathered in New Delhi to finalise our joint bid for the 2011 World Cup. The last date for the bid was a few days after our New Delhi meeting. To my horror, the BCCI had not completed its preparation for our joint bid which entailed filling detailed and copious forms that ICC had sent out to all the countries bidding for the World Cup," he wrote in the 'Shadows across the playing field', co-authored by United Nations Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor.

"There was consternation in ranks when we -- Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan -- pointed out that our joint bid was bound to hit the rocks because India had not remotely completed the data required by the ICC," he said.

Mr. Shaharyar noted that the then newly appointed BCCI President Sharad Pawar ordered Board Secretary Niranjan Shah to complete the work by keeping him awake a whole night.

"Sharad Pawar was naturally deeply upset to learn of this potential disaster and ordered his secretary Niranjan Shah to sit up all night with his South Asian colleagues to complete the data."

But the task could not be completed, Mr. Shaharyar was told by his chief executive Saleem Altaf when inquired.

"We sat up with Niranjan Shah till 3 am but then the effort collapsed because Indian Board simply did not have the factual data at hand. I am afraid our bid will be found non-compliant in Dubai," Altaf told Mr. Shaharyar.

The 75-year-old former army man said Asia's prestige was at stake because of India's tardiness, which he blamed on the absence of a proper BCCI office and paid staffs.

"This was a serious blow and was certain to affect Asia's prestige in the cricket word individually and collectively.

"India's non-compliance was, in my opinion, due to the fact that the BCCI had no permanent headquarters, no secretariat and no paid officials performing BCCI's daily work. This was a stage omission... for the most powerful cricketing nation in the world not to have this basic structure seemed bizarre," he said.

Mr. Shaharyar also revealed how the co-bidders bought time from the ICC by stating failure of previous BCCI regime led by Jagmohan Dalmiya in not passing on the required documents.

"Our presentation was almost certainly going to be found non-compliant leaving the field to Australia-New Zealand. I suggested that at the board meeting we plead for a brief extension on the grounds that India's new board had recently taken over and had not been conveyed the documentation by the previous board for the proper compilation of the Asia's bid," he said.

"Sharad Pawar moved immediately to prepare the ground. He went up to Ray Mali and Peter Chingoka and engaged them in deep conversation... At the Executive Board meeting, he made a persuasive plea to be allowed a brief extension," he added.

The former PCB President explained how India and Pakistan, which unfortunately will not host any 2011 WC matches owing to the unrest in the country, then combined to turn things in their favour.

"India and Pakistan had declined to take part (in Twenty20 World Cup)... but one month later Sharad Pawar and I decided to withdraw our objection, especially as South Africa was to host the championships. It led to firming up of African and West Indian commitment to Asia holding the World Cup in 2011, with Australia and New Zealand being alloted the 2015 World Cup," he said.

"This diplomatic exercises had led to India and Pakistan closely co-ordinating their strategy to gain the World Cup 2011," he added.