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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 8 March 2021

Pakistan want 2021 T20 World Cup in UAE if India fail to provide visa assurance

PCB chief Ehsan Mani wants written guarantee from Indian government on travel and safety by March

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman and former ICC president Ehsan Mani. AFP
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman and former ICC president Ehsan Mani. AFP

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani says he will ask the International Cricket Council (ICC) to shift the Twenty20 World Cup to the UAE if India fail to give assurances regarding visa and safety arrangements for its stakeholders by March.

Australia was due to host the T20 World Cup last year but had to postpone because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The schedule now has India hosting the 2021 edition and Australia staging the tournament next year.

That has brought about a new set of problems given the strained political relations between India and Pakistan which has resulted in a suspension of bilateral ties between the countries.

Mani said the ICC had initially told the PCB that they would get visa clearance from India by December.

“ICC told us that it will be done by December 31, 2020, but it didn’t happen,” Mani said.

Mani said he has, since then, twice raised the issue with the ICC and told them that he needed the clear decision by end of March, otherwise he will demand the event be shifted to the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s already been decided that if India can’t hold the event it will be shifted to UAE,” Mani said. “Legally and constitutionally it’s our right to participate in the tournament and nobody can remove us from the tournament.

“Our government has never told us that we can’t play in India. We have agreed with the ICC that we are going to participate and we can’t contravene that.

“At the ICC level, I have clearly said we need a written assurance from the India government over not only our squad’s visas, we also need visas for fans, journalists and the board officials.”

Mani said he has no problems on a personal level with Sourav Ganguly, who is the president of Board of Control for Cricket in India.

“If he wants to organise the tournament in India, I have no problems with it too if he can convince every stakeholder. But ICC has backup plans and if they [India] can’t do it, it will be held at an alternative venue.”

Published: February 21, 2021 02:50 PM

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