CWC final venue not changing

Dhaka - World Cup organisers have no intention of shifting the venue for the April 2 final, regardless of reports that a radical Indian group is considering disrupting the match if Pakistan plays.

India hosts Pakistan in a semifinal at Mohali on Wednesday, with the winner advancing to the final at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.

World Cup tournament director Ratnakar Shetty on Friday said he was not concerned about the reports.

"Everything is in place and the venue will be unchanged," he told reporters during a visit to Dhaka's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, where South Africa and New Zealand were playing in a quarterfinal.

"Everybody knows the final will be in Mumbai, there's no chance for shifting the venue, no matter who comes to play the final."

India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hopes the semifinal will be an avenue for diplomacy, and invited Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to join him for the match in Mohali in the border state of Punjab.

"We are looking forward to a great game of cricket that will be a victory for sport," the Indian PM wrote in an invitation sent Friday.

That came only hours after a report that right-wing group Shiv Sena will wait to see if Pakistan reaches the final before deciding on whether or not to try to disrupt the match. The group took responsibility for digging up a pitch at a New Delhi venue to prevent a match in 1999, but it didn't stop Pakistan's tour.

India and Pakistan have played cricket at neutral venues in recent years, but have not resumed bilateral tours since a terror attack at Mumbai in November 2008, when 10 militants from Pakistan laid siege to the financial capital, killing 166 people.

Pakistan was originally scheduled to be among four co-hosts of this World Cup, but was stripped of the rights after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team's convoy en route to a test match at Lahore in March, 2009. Gunmen killed six policemen and a van driver in the team convoy, and injured several Sri Lanka players and officials.

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