KARACHI: Pakistan cricket officials and former team captains were shocked on Friday after the country was stripped of hosting rights for the 2011 World Cup because of security concerns.
Pakistan had been scheduled to stage the event with sub-continent neighbours India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh but the ICC said it had decided to ditch them as hosts to "deliver a safe, secure and successful event".
"Obviously it is very disappointing and upsetting. But our chairman is attending the ICC meeting and we will be briefed by him to know what really prompted this harsh decision by the ICC," the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) chief operating officer Salim Altaf told Reuters.
Pakistan has become a no-go zone for international sporting events after seven Pakistanis were killed and six Sri Lanka cricket players were injured during an armed attack on their team bus as they travelled to a Test match in Lahore last month.
However, with the World Cup still two years away, Pakistanis felt the ICC could have waited longer before axing them as hosts.
"It is really shocking because the World Cup is still sometime away. I guess a little patience should have been shown by the ICC members," former Test captain Javed Miandad told Reuters.
Former Test captain Rameez Raja concurred: "Obviously it is a painful time for Pakistan cricket. I was hoping the final call on shifting of matches could be delayed a bit more as there is time for the tournament.
"This decision is not going to go down well with the Pakistani people since the World Cup is a global event and this decision is a big setback for our cricket."
Rashid Latif said that the ICC had acted in haste, especially since the security situation in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was also uncertain.
"I don't know how this decision helps international cricket or Pakistan cricket. There is still nearly two years for the World Cup. Why the hurry to take this decision?" Latif said.
Another former captain, Moin Khan, added: "Pakistan is not the only country facing security issues. It is happening world over and yet only we are being targeted and deprived of cricket events."