Aware of the turmoil in Pakistan, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday asked organisers of the 2011 World Cup to consider shifting venues to another city, even to another country, if situation so demands.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting of the 2011 World Cup Central Organising Committee in New Delhi, ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said the turmoil in Pakistan is a "consideration" for the governing body which asked the organisers to consider alternate venues in case of an emergency.
"It's a consideration that we have to give attention to. This is not something we discussed today, except to ask the organisers to consider alternate host city venues within the country as well as alternate country venues in the event of something is not favourable in one of the particular host countries," Lorgat said.
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will jointly host the event.
Lorgat, however, feels there is still enough time in hand and there is no need to press the panic button.
"I think it's still a long way off to World Cup. It is certainly a consideration to keep note of but it's way too early to be already concerned at this particular stage," he added.
Reminded about visiting teams' reluctance to tour Pakistan and whether he is optimistic about a marked change in the situation in the trouble-torn country, Lorgat said," I'm optimistic by nature. But at the same time, I'm no crystal ball gazer.
"But we are monitoring the situation regularly and we recently got the Board to support that ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) would take on the extra responsibility of monitoring security on an ongoing basis."
Lorgat said of the 15 World Cup venues, eight would be in India, four in Pakistan, two in Sri Lanka and one in Bangladesh.
Lorgat said ICC is in touch with the Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi on deploying ACSU officials during the IPL.
"We are in discussion with Mr Modi. They are keen to have ACSU officials in IPL and we also feel it makes sense," he said.
Representatives from all the members boards, including Pakistan Cricket Board president Ejaz Butt and CEO Saleem Altaf, BCCI secretary N Srinivasan, Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty, Sri Lankan Cricket Board CEO Duleep Mendis and Bangladesh Cricket Board officials attended the meeting presided by Organising Committee Chairman Sharad Pawar.
ICC Principal Adviser IS Bindra was also present in the meeting.
The committee also appointed Salim Butt of Pakistan as the Managing Director, while setting up a number of working groups to work out the details "so that we can deliver a successful, world class event," Lorgat said.
The ICC official seemed unperturbed by the snapping of cricket ties between India and Pakistan and didn't foresee it affecting organisation of the World Cup.
"This issue must be approached with an optimistic viewpoint, certainly because we still have some time in our hand. I think it's way too early to be presumptuous and assume that things won't work.
"When we come close to the event, obviously we have to pay much more attention to the issues like safety, security and relation between the countries. But I can assure you at this stage we are planning a World Cup for all four countries," he said.
Lorgat accepted the criticism of the 2007 World Cup for being too long and said this time ICC is looking at an event which would not go beyond six weeks after its scheduled start on February 19, 2011.
"We are planning to reduce the time-span, not to go beyond the six-week period. The last two weeks of February and March. We are looking to shorten the period down to six weeks," he said.
"We want a shorter and sharper tournament not beyond six weeks and if my memory serves me right, not more than 49 games," he said.