Pakistan delay trip to India for World Twenty20 over security concerns in Dharamsala
Pakistan have delayed their departure for the World Twenty20 in India while they await the go-ahead from the government, which has concerns about the team’s security, local media has reported.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sent a delegation of officials to check security at the venues in neighbouring India earlier this week, with the Dharamsala venue for their March 19 clash against India of particular concern.
The delegation were scheduled to report their findings to the Pakistan interior ministry on Tuesday and the PCB had hoped the team could then depart for New Delhi on Wednesday.
“PCB has delayed national women’s and men’s cricket team from travelling to India,” PCB spokesman Amjad Hussain told the Dawn newspaper.
“The final decision on teams departure to India for T20 World Cup will be taken after a formal go ahead by the interior ministry.”
PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Monday that there was no question of Pakistan not playing in the tournament but that other venues might need to be considered.
“I have written to (ICC chairman Manohar Shashank) that if you want us to play somewhere else because of issues at Dharamsala we are willing to consider that,” he said.
“We have never refused to play.”
Pakistan open their tournament on March 14 against a qualifier in Kolkata before their match with India in Dharamsala five days later. They then face New Zealand on March 22 and Australia on March 25, with both of those matches in Mohali.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since becoming separate countries in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Khan said security was the responsibility of state governments in India with the central government unwilling to direct their state counterparts on what to do.
The chief minister of the Himachal Pradesh state government, Virbhadra Singh, had told local media earlier this month there were concerns over whether they could provide adequate security for the Pakistan team in Dharamsala.
“Earlier, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh had said they could not guarantee security but now it seems like they would provide the security,” Khan said.
The tournament opened on Tuesday with qualifying matches before the main draw begins on March 15. The final will be held at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 3.
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Published: March 9, 2016 04:00 AM