ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: Qualifier matches began on Wednesday in the World Twenty 20 tournament, but Pakistan’s men’s and women’s cricket teams were still at home on Thursday morning, kitted and ready and waiting for clearance from their government to fly to India.
Here are latest developments:
- On Pakistan’s request, a match against India on March 19 has been shifted from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh to Kolkata, but it has said it will not send its teams for the tournament till it gets an assurance in writing from the Indian government on security for the players and Pakistani fans who attend matches.
- Kits have been distributed and the Pakistani teams are ready to fly at short notice. If they get an okay, the teams will board an early afternoon Pakistan International Airline of PIA flight from Lahore to Delhi today, sources said.
- Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shahryar Khan will meet the teams at around 11 am. The teams were to have flown to Delhi on Wednesday afternoon, but their departure was deferred over security concerns.
- “We have received news that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has revived its communication with the Home Ministry of India to secure the necessary security guarantees,” Pakistan cricket board sources told NDTV.
- Pakistan had requested that the match with India to be shifted from Himachal Pradesh after the state’s Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of the Congress said he could not ensure adequate security for the match.
- In Himachal Pradesh, former servicemen protested against the match, alleging that playing Pakistan would hurt the sentiments of the families of soldiers of the state killed in battle against Pakistan or in operations against terrorists from Pakistan-based terror groups.
- A three-member Pakistan team that visited Dharamsala to assess security arrangements reportedly told the government that it was not satisfied with the plans made for both the team and Pakistani fans who would attend the match.
- Announcing the shift in venue, the ICC’s David Richardson said today that a full refund will be offered to those who have purchased tickets for the Dharamsala match, or they will have the opportunity to exchange them for tickets to the Kolkata match.
- “The ICC has been assured by all state authorities who are responsibility of security involved in this. We have been assured by them that adequate security measures are in place,” Mr Richardson said.
- Pakistan is scheduled to play its first match of the World T20 on March 16 against a qualifier at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens. They then play India on March 19, now at the same venue.