LAHORE - Cricket World Cup tournament director Ratnakar Shetty has said the early exit of cricket's financial powerhouses, India and Pakistan, in the 2007 World Cup forced the International Cricket Council to change the format in the upcoming edition. Shetty was quoted as saying that the ICC went back to the 1996 World Cup format after India and Pakistan crashed out in the first round in the Caribbean in 2007.
Asked whether current format has been tweaked to favour the hosts, Shetty said: "I will not be honest if I say no. Economically, we all know that India is the financial powerhouse of cricket. The exit of India and Pakistan from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 was a disaster for the tournament. The sponsors, broadcasters, tour operators, West Indies board - all lost a lot of money.
"The format was changed in such a way that it gives all the top teams a chance to compete. We went back to the same format that was used in 1996." Shetty said fool-proof security arrangements will be in place for the mega event, which begins on February 19 and is co-hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
"Things have changed in the last two years. The police have a mechanism of continuously monitoring the security issues. The threat perception varies from team to team, and that is an aspect that is being looked into by the central government. If there are any specific conditions that the state police want, we will cooperate with them," Shetty told espnstar.com
"It doesn't make sense to compromise on any rules laid down by the state government; it is for everyone's good. We are a lot more aware of situations now, especially after the Bangalore incident during the IPL. Everyone entering the stadium will be checked thoroughly."