New Delhi: Tournament Director of World Cup and Indian Cricket Board's CAO Ratnakar Shetty today admitted that World Cup fixtures have been made in order to favour co-hosts Team India and other top teams make it to the knock-out stage.
Shetty also said that organisers did not want to take a risk with the format unlike 2007 when India and Pakistan made exit in the opening round.
Asked whether lot of matches featuring minnows have been scheduled in order to tweak it in favour of India, Shetty replied, "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," Shetty said.
"The format was changed in such a way that it gives all the top teams a chance to compete. We have gone back to the same format that was used in 1996," he told espnstar.com.
On the issue of India-England match being shifted from Kolkata to Bangalore, Shetty said that the CAB should have factored in the delay that was to be caused due to the organisation of IPL matches.
"According to the ICC charter, a venue is supposed to be ready three months before the event, which the Cricket Association of Bengal knew well in advance. Hence, it was their responsibility to take all those factors into consideration before hosting the IPL games. Considering factors like the monsoon, we extended the deadline to December 31.
"After the December inspection, the venues in question-Eden Gardens, Wankhede, Hambantota and Pallekele were given one last chance, and unfortunately Eden Gardens fell way short of the mark when it came to the level of preparedness," he added.
Questioned whether the Eden issue could have been resolved in a better manner, he answered,"Unlike in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where the Boards run the show completely, in India, the BCCI doesn¿t run daily cricket.
"In our case, the stadia are completely managed by the state associations. The ICC have documented the progress of each venue. The BCCI monitored the reports of the venue, but to ensure that the work is completed was the responsibility of the state association."
Shetty informed that Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium will host some local matches in order to test the 22-yard strip.
"We will have some local matches. Every alternate day, there are bowlers who bowl at the nets. ICC pitches committee head Andy Atkinson is stationed in Mumbai to oversee the preparation.
"The wicket was not completely re-laid, only the top surface was changed. We have a very able curator in Sudhir Naik who has done a wonderful job in the past, so it is not a major worry for us."
About the security arrangement for the tournament, Shetty said, "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.