March 10: In the latest development to the long-drawn controversy pertaining to Pakistan’s participation in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20, the 2009 champions will reportedly leave for India on Friday.
According to a report, the Pakistan cricket team will travel via Lahore and Delhi, then to Kolkata tomorrow.
After prolonged political harangue from different parties on the hosting of the high-profile India-Pakistan match at Dharamsala, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday agreed to shift the venue to Kolkata.
For time being, it seemed to have resolved the issue, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) kept the team’s departure on hold awaiting an assurance from the Indian government.
“Both men and women teams (departure) have been deferred. I have also informed this to the government because it has asked for my opinion,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said at a press conference yesterday.
His response came after ICC announced in New Delhi the relocation of Indo-Pak tie on March 19 from Dharamsala to Kolkata due to security reasons.
However, he welcomed the decision to move the venue.
“I have told them that Kolkata is fine as venue and we welcome and appreciate it. But the Indian government from their side must also give us an assurance on the danger,” the PCB chief said.
“Pakistan government has not talked with the Indian government. This threat is on us so the PCB has talked with the Indian government. It is the PCB that is raising this issue with the BCCI, ICC and the government of India that this assurance should be given by India. We have not given any deadline,” added Shaharyar.
It’s worth noting that, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh had expressed concerns over security for the India-Pakistan match in Dharamsala, with many organisations objecting and threatening to hold the match in Dharamshala.
In between, Anti-Terrorist Front of India (ATFI) , which has been stridently opposing the Pakistan cricket team playing in India, on Wednesday threatened to dig up the pitch at Eden Gardens.
“Hosting of Pakistan in India is a grave insult to all our brave soldiers who were martyred in these attacks. We will not allow the match at any cost, we will dig up the Eden pitch, there will be massive protests,” ATFI national president Viresh Shandilya told.
“The ATFI now is holding a meet to decide our course of action. How can the Indian cricket board be insensitive to undermine the tears of widows of our martyrs? We will hold protests across Kolkata including the airport,” he added.
The organisation had earlier also threatened to dig up the pitch at the HPCA stadium in Dharamshala which was scheduled to host the March 19 India-Pakistan match.