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Abu Dhabi to Pakistan's rescue again

ABU Dhabi cricket authorities are willing to host Pakistan's share of 2011 World Cup matches.

The International Cricket Council stripped Pakistan as a host on security grounds, forcing the Pakistan Cricket Board to seek an alternative venue if it wants to collect its share of the hosting rights money.

"If asked (by the Pakistan Cricket Board), we are willing to organize all its international matches, including the World Cup," Abu Dhabi Cricket Council's Chief Executive Dilawar Mani said yesterday.

Abu Dhabi held three one-day internationals between Australia and Pakistan earlier this month. Last year, it also hosted Pakistan's three-match ODI series against the West Indies at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium.Those tours were moved due to other nations' reluctance to visit Pakistan because of the security situation.

"It's difficult times for Pakistan and we want to help them," Mani said, who added he was scheduled to meet PCB chief Ijaz Butt this week in Abu Dhabi and discuss the option of Pakistan hosting World Cup matches at a neutral venue.

Butt has gone to South Africa to watch the relocated Indian Premier League and is likely to meet with officials of other cricket boards, including South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The ICC will meet the heads of the four World Cup 2011 co-hosts - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - in Dubai on June 3.

"We will, as per the agreement we have all signed, submit a satisfactory security plan to the ICC for games in Pakistan," Butt said. "Should that plan not be satisfactory then we will put forward a proposal for a neutral venue, be that in the Middle East or Kuala Lumpur. That process and procedure is part of the hosting agreement that we all signed."


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