Switch World Cup to Australia, NZ: Mani

KARACHI: The 2011 World Cup should be switched to Australia and New Zealand because of the security situation and political instability in the Asian sub-continent, former ICC president Ehsan Mani said on Wednesday.

"I would say the sensible thing to do would be to shift the World Cup to New Zealand and Australia and have the 2015 edition in South Asia," Mani told Reuters.

"There is no guarantee the geo-political situation in this region is going to improve soon," the Pakistan-born administrator said.

The International Cricket Council executive board ditched Pakistan as one of the 2011 co-hosts last month because of the security situation in the country with India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka remaining as venues.

The Pakistan board has mounted a legal challenge to the ICC decision and also asked for the matter to be referred to an independent arbitration tribunal.

Mani, the ICC president from 2003 to 2006, said there was no guarantee the governments of Pakistan and India would co-operate for the World Cup matches.

"Is there any guarantee India will allow Pakistan to play in India or vice versa? The situation in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is also not ideal for an event of such magnitude," Mani said.

He said the ICC was making a mistake by only treating Pakistan as a problem when other areas in the region were unstable.

"It is understandable after the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore about teams not wanting to play in Pakistan. But sportsmen are also refusing to play in India.