ICC''s 2011 World Cup format will encourage spot-fixing: Latif

Karachi, Feb 26 (PTI) Pakistan former captain RashidLatif has criticised the 2011 World Cup format and believesthe International Cricket Council itself has opened the windowfor spot-fixing in the tournament.

"What sort of format or formation have they applied insuch a big event. It is obvious that the real competition willonly start from the quarter final stage. This means itencourages bookmakers to try to corrupt players to indulge inwhite collar spot-fixing crime in the group matches," Latiftold PTI.

He pointed out that as far as the present formation ofteams was concerned, it was obvious that the top eight testplaying nations would make the quarter finals from the twogroups.

"The formation is such that even if a top team loses amatch or two this really will not stop it from qualifying forthe quarter finals," he said.

"Take for example group A. How can the ICC expect teamslike Kenya or Canada to cause any upset and it is obviousZimbabwe is weaker compared to Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lankaand New Zealand."

The former wicketkeeper batsman, who blew the whistle onmatch-fixing 16 years back, said he was surprised that the ICCdespite having a large staff and some of the best cricket andmanagement minds could not come up with a more competitiveformat and formation.

"My fear is this format and formation only encouragesspot-fixing and it is difficult for anyone to identify suchthings. Even our three players were only caught because theirown partner got greedy," said Latif, who played 37 tests and169 ODIs.

Latif felt that the best format for the next World Cupshould be that the top eight test teams compete for the honorson single league basis.

"This format will do two positive things. It will raisethe bar of competition among teams in the four-year cycle tofinish among the top eight to qualify for the World Cup andgive more meaning to the series played the year around," hesaid.

"The second good thing would be that the single leagueformat would encourage top competition and no team would beable to take any match lightly," he added.

Latif said if the ICC wanted to encourage the associateand weaker teams they should hold competitions for these teamsall the year around.

"Don''t expect these weaker teams to improve by justplaying a few tournaments in the year. They require exposureagainst top teams and also the ICC must help them improvetheir domestic structures," he said.

Pakistan''s former captain, Imran Khan has also said thatthe real competition in the World Cup will only start from thequarter-finals as many of the group matches will bemeaningless.

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