LAHORE - The International Cricket Council (ICC) will meet on Friday (today) to decide about Pakistan's participation in the Women's World Cup, it has been learnt.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is hopeful of Pakistan participation in the ICC mega event. On the other hand a private TV channel said the organisation of ICC Women's World Cup Cricket tournament seemed in doubt after BCCI reluctance to host Pakistan women team in India.

The PCB has already asked the ICC to look into the possibility of shifting the matches of their team from Mumbai to some other venue because of security concerns following the escalation of tensions because of ceasefire violations on Line of Control. Sources in the PCB said that they were in constant touch with the ICC over the World Cup as the team was scheduled to leave for Mumbai around January 22 or 23rd.

"There is a worry that if the ICC and Indian board are unable to find alternate venues for the Pakistan team to play its matches in India, the Pakistani team could be left out of the event because of the short time left," one source said. Although PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf had rubbished any such happening but the source said there were fears that this could happen since the ICC didn’t seem interested in moving the World Cup from India to South Africa as proposed by the PCB.

The second venue in India will be the most likely solution of the crisis after Shiv Sena's threat of not allowing Pakistani players and commentators in India. Kolkata and Bangalore have been reported by the India media as being open to host Pakistan after Gujarat government’s refusal to host arch-rivals team in Ahmedabad but officials of both associations neither denied nor confirmed the report.

"We have no information," Jagmohan Dalmiya, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president, said. A Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) official, too, said that he was unaware about any such development.

Earlier, BCCI has made it clear to the ICC that it would be impossible to host Pakistan and shifting of Pakistan matches to other cities of India will surely solve this issue.  The two bodies, Indian board and the ICC were tight-lipped amid growing media speculations that either Pakistan be able to participate in the mega event or otherwise. The mega event will be held from January 28 to February 14 in India.

"The World Cup will happen in India. It will take place at two venues. As for the Pakistan team is concerned, the BCCI and ICC are trying to work out an alternate venue and will be finalised in today's meeting.” The ICC also dismissed reports that Pakistan would not be playing in the tournament. "A decision should be taken by the weekend, latest. We are working with the BCCI about the logistics," an ICC spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the PCB chairman was quoted by media as saying that the BCCI hadn't conveyed any unwillingness to host them, and also that he wasn't aware of any neighbouring country hosting the Pakistan matches. "I am not aware of BCCI's unwillingness to host us. They haven't conveyed anything about it to the PCB. Also, I haven't heard of any neighbouring Asian country like Sri Lanka or Bangladesh hosting Pakistan's matches," he said.

"Sports should never be interrupted. Whatever happened at the border does hurt me, but then sporting activities shouldn't suffer due to them." Ashraf also made it clear that if at all the ICC does decide to shift the venue of Pakistan's matches it has to move the whole tournament. "Whatever the ICC decides will be implemented to the all the countries.”

Meanwhile, the cricket circles were of the view that it would be very sad for Pakistan as its women cricketers will miss this mega event for which they are preparing themselves in Gaddafi Stadium to leave their impression in the mega event and if ICC deprive of them from their appearance in the mega event on the request of BCCI this will be a bad example from the world cricket governing body, the source added.