Pakistan may boycott 2016 World Twenty20 in India: Zaheer


KARACHI: International Cricket Council (ICC) president Zaheer Abbas warned on Tuesday that Pakistani players might boycott India’s tour for the World Twenty20 to be held next year, in the wake of recent anti-Pakistan incidents.

“Pakistan and India cricket authorities must work it out, otherwise I fear the Pakistan players could also refuse to tour India for the upcoming World T20 Cup, citing security concerns,” Abbas said, according to NDTV.

The ICC president’s statement came a day after Shiv Sena workers stormed the Mumbai office of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ahead of a meeting between Pakistan and India’s cricket boards officials. Further, the ICC on Monday withdrew Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar from officiating in the remaining matches of the on-going India versus South Africa series following threats from Shiv Sena.

“I don’t know what the environment will be when the World T20 is held in India but if this situation persists, obviously there will be extra pressure on our players,” the ICC president added.

Keeping all these factors in mind, Zaheer said Pakistani players might refuse to visit India for the T20 competition next year. “The important thing is that World T20 opener is between Pakistan and India. What will happen when these two countries play? The tension would be such that it would no longer be a cricket match,” he upheld.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shahryar Khan and the head of the PCB’s executive committee Najam Sethi had arrived in India on Sunday to hold talks with BCCI in a bid to finalise the India-Pakistan cricket series in December.

However, the Hindu right-wing party activists crashed through the gates of BCCI’s office in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium chanting anti-Pakistan slogans and demanding Shahryar and Sethi’s immediate return.

Shiv Sena, which is a junior partner of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra state, has in recent weeks threatened and cancelled Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert. Last week, its members attacked the organiser of an event for former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri.

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