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ICC to review 2011 World Cup in Asia

THE ICC will review the future of the 2011 World Cup in Asia after Sri Lanka's cricket team was ambushed yesterday in Pakistan.

"We note with dismay and regret the events of this morning in Lahore and we condemn this attack without reservation," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

Lorgat was quoted as saying that plans for the 2011 World Cup ?? set to be co-hosted by Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh ?? would be reviewed within 48 hours, but an ICC spokesman later said there was no timeframe for the review.

"We're obviously going to have a review, but no decision on when has been taken," ICC spokesman Brian Murgatroyd said.

Murgatroyd said any decision on the World Cup would be taken by the ICC executive board, which is scheduled to meet next month but could be brought forward.

The ICC also said it will be difficult for international cricket to return to Pakistan in the foreseeable future.

ICC chairman David Morgan said: "The situation currently as it is in Pakistan, there will be a great reluctance from cricketers to return there."

Australia captain Ricky Ponting released a statement from South Africa saying he'd been in touch with the Sri Lankan team "to express our deepest condolences."

"An act of violence like this is a terrible thing and when it involves those who are part of our cricketing family, players the world over are affected," he said.


"We have spoken with members of the Sri Lankan team and made them aware we are extremely saddened by what has happened and that our best wishes are with them all. We hope that those who have been injured in these attacks can make a full and quick recovery and return to representing their country soon."

A host of former Pakistan test cricketers pre-empted the ICC decision on Pakistan's status as a 2011 World Cup co-host.

"I don't see the International Cricket Council now allowing the World Cup matches in Pakistan. It's gone," retired paceman Waqar Younis said. "It's a big tragedy. Something like this should have never happened."

Javed Miandad, a former Pakistan captain and coach, said: "It is going to be very difficult for us to now to convince teams that they can play the World Cup in Pakistan safely."

Retired fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz said the future of cricket in Pakistan was now bleak.

"No team will even think to come to play in Pakistan after this attack and injuries to their cricketers," he said. "I am also fearing that other countries will be reluctant to even invite Pakistan for home series in fear that may open door for such terrorism to come to their country."

Pakistan hadn't played a test for 14 months before Sri Lanka's tour, with several foreign teams withdrawing due to security reservations. Australia and India canceled proposed tours, and Sri Lanka's visit was hastily arranged to replace India.

Former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson, who tried to encourage Australian authorities not to abandon a tour last year, said the attack was a major setback for cricket in the region. "The prospects were not great for Pakistan cricket before this, they're absolutely horrendous now," he said.


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