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Organisers confident West Indies will be at World Cup

MELBOURNE: Organisers are confident West Indies will take part at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand early next year despite the crisis caused by their withdrawal from the tour of India earlier this month.

West Indies, who won the first two World Cup tournaments in 1975 and 1979 and reached the quarter-finals in India in 2011, are always among the most popular teams at the 50-over showpiece.

Caribbean cricket was plunged into turmoil on Oct. 17, however, after the series in India was aborted over a protracted payment dispute between the players and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

India’s powerful cricket board (BCCI) responded by suspending all future tours involving West Indies as well as taking legal action against the WICB, which could have a devastating financial impact on cricket in the region.

John Harnden, the chief executive of the World Cup, said there was a contingency plan in place for a West Indies no-show but doubted it would be needed.

“We see that everyone’s very focused on resolving the situation as quickly as possible,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“We’ve got 108 days until the World Cup and from our point of view I’ve no doubt the West Indies will be here and entertaining the crowd as only they know how.”

West Indies are scheduled to open their campaign against Ireland in Nelson, New Zealand on Feb. 16 and also play defending champions India, South Africa, Pakistan and Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates in Pool B.

The World Cup runs from Feb. 14 to March 29. (Reuters)

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