Pakistan will play semifinals in India: Lorgat

ICC Chief Haroon Lorgat says that Pakistan has no concerns about playing the World Cup semifinal in India

Ahmedabad: Mar 23, 2011

Pakistan will play a World Cup semi-final in India should they beat the West Indies in Dhaka on Wednesday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed.

There had been suggestions that, were Pakistan to reach the last four, their semi-final would be switched to the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo because of security concerns.

However, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat insisted on Wednesday that the schedule remains unchanged. “I just want to confirm the venues for semi-finals,” he said. “Pakistan v West Indies (quarter-final) in Bangladesh and India v Australia here on Thursday, the winners will go on to meet in Mohali on March 30. New Zealand v South Africa and Sri Lanka v England, the winners will play in Colombo on March 29. That will not change.”

Asked if the ICC had security concerns about Pakistan playing in India, Lorgat replied: “Why would there be concerns? We’ve got very, very robust and secure security processes in place.”

The South African added the ICC would do their best to “expedite visa issues” should Pakistan qualify for the semi-finals.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, speaking last week, insisted: “We are here to play the World Cup, so wherever we have to play we will go and we have no fears over going to India. “I think a cricket match has always brought the people of both countries together and has the capacity to improve relations between the two.”

The relationship between the nuclear rivals has been at breaking point since the terror attacks on Mumbai in 2008, which New Delhi blamed on extremists based in Pakistan.

Those attacks also led India to scrap bilateral cricket series with Pakistan, although the two countries played against each other in the Champions Trophy in South Africa in 2009.