Australia and New Zealand are on standby to host the 2011 cricket World Cup if the terror threat in the sub-continent is found to be too high, NZC CEO Justin Vaughan has claimed.
As concerns mount on holding sporting events like the hockey World Cup, the Indian Premier League and Commonwealth Games in India following threats of attack on foreign players by al-Qaeda, Vaughan said there was a possibility of shifting cricket's showpiece event out of Asia.
The quadrennial extravaganza will be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Pakistan was also a co-host initially but its share of matches were shifted to the other three countries after a string of terror attacks in the strife-torn country.
"You cannot move the timing of the tournament, in March-April, so really there's only Australia, New Zealand and South Africa who could host it," Vaughan told stuff.co.nz.
Vaughan, however, insisted that sub-continent is vital for international cricket's existence.
"We've got to find a way to make this work because Asia is the heartbeat of cricket in the present day. Obviously, players need to be safe, but we cannot run away when a threat is made," the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief said.
"By tightening the security measures around the teams we somehow have to make it safe otherwise the sport will struggle to survive if we cannot find a solution," he added.
Vaughan said the key to ensuring a smooth conduct of the event would lay in how elaborate the security plans are.
"India is so important and you cannot envisage a scenario when you cannot tour India it's not worth thinking about. The host's security plans are vital. I'd go anywhere in the world if there was the right security plan," he said.
"I'd go to Iraq, if the right security was in place," he added.