Pakistan have asked the ICC for a change of location for their World T20 match against India, scheduled to be held in Dharamsala on March 19, after receiving a report from its three-man delegation that ‘security is not assured’ at the venue. ESPNcricinfo has learned that the report was handed over to the board and Pakistan’s federal interior minister, Chaudary Nisar, after which it was decided that the Pakistan team would not travel to India on Wednesday as scheduled.
The PCB had, earlier on Tuesday, written to the ICC chief executive David Richardson asking to consider an alternative venue for the marquee match on March 19. It is understood to have proposed Kolkata or Mohali as a replacement for Dharamsala.
A senior BCCI official said the Indian board was made aware of the fact that the PCB had informed the ICC about not being “keen on playing” in Dharamsala but appeared confident the match could still be moved to an alternate venue.
“They have not conveyed it (not playing in Dharamsala) to ICC as a decision, but as a suggestion,” the official told ESPNcricnfo. According to him the two back-up venues could be Bangalore and Kolkata. “Mohali is already hosting two (Pakistan) matches. Kolkata already has one match. Delhi, we all know the issues there (the Delhi & District Cricket Association struggling to get various clearances to host matches).”
The official reckoned the ICC and BCCI would have to take a “final” call by Wednesday keeping in mind the Pakistan men’s team is scheduled to land in India for the tournament that day.
The Pakistani delegation, headed by FIA director Usman Anwar, PCB security and anti-corruption head Azam Khan, and Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in India, are believed to have remained unconvinced by the arrangements and with the security protocols. It is believed that most of the Indian officials they were coordinating with were relatively junior in rank.
The Pakistan government had initially granted the PCB permission for its team to play in India, but the board decided to put the visit on hold until they were guaranteed foolproof security. The PCB’s move was prompted after the Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh had expressed concerns over security for the India-Pakistan match in Dharamsala. (Courtesy Cricinfo)