Karachi:The cash-strap Pakistan Cricket Board is working on a strategy to ensure it is not deprived of the earnings from the 2011 World Cup, including the hosting fees of around $11 million after the ICC shifted it's share of matches out of the country on security grounds.
Well-placed sources in the PCB have said that the present tour of PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt to Sri Lanka and probably India is part of a two-pronged strategy to ensure Pakistan does not lose out on its earnings from the megaevent.
"Basically even Pakistan is aware that after the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore and given the prevailing security situation in the country, it is next to impossible to host any World Cup match in 2011," one source said.
"But it is also aware that the Indian cricket board (BCCI) is quietly isolating Pakistan from the World Cup and this could lead to a situation where it no longer has any role to play in the tournament and may lose out on the hosting fees and other earnings," the source said.
He said Butt during his meeting with the head of the Sri Lankan cricket committee had made it clear that Pakistan needed the support of the three other host nations to try to get back the World Cup matches and then move it to a neutral venue, most likely Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
"Butt asked the Sri Lankan cricket chief to help out Pakistan or it would have no option left but to fight a full-fledged legal battle with the ICC and even the World Cup organising committee which could result in losses from the tournament and it even moved from the region or shelved," the source said.
The source added that Butt had told the Sri Lankan cricket chief that Pakistan had mounted a legal challenge against the ICC's decision to shift the World Cup matches but would be willing to accept a compromise.
"But he also made it clear that Pakistan had a strong case legally to get back the World Cup matches." The PCB chairman is also trying to meet with the Indian cricket officials, including former BCCI president Sharad Pawar in the next few days but so far nothing has been finalised.
"The Indians are very upset at Pakistan's legal challenge and the way they have also attacked the ability of the three other host nations to hold the World Cup in the existing security situation in the region," the source added.
He mentioned a statement attributed to a senior BCCI official, Ratnakar Shetty in which he made it clear that India would not allow Pakistan to move its share of the World Cup matches to neutral venues as this was not allowed under the host partners agreement with the ICC.
Interestingly, Pakistan has challenged the ICC's decision on the same premise that under the host agreement the international body can't move the World Cup matches from just one host country but has to shift the full tournament incase of an emergency or security issues.
Butt himself has faced criticism for trying to make diplomatic overtures to Sri Lanka and other host nations at a time when Pakistan has gone into a full-fledged legal battle with the ICC.
"It is hard to understand this double strategy. How does Butt expect to gain cooperation from India, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh after the legal challenge," a former Test player said.