India-Pakistan World T20 match shifted to Eden Gardens

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New Delhi : Putting an end to speculation over the India-Pakistan match in Dharamsala on March 19, the International Cricket Council (ICC) today shifted the World T20 fixture to Kolkata after the two-member Pakistan delegation failed to get enough security assurance from the Himachal Government.

But the Pakistan men and women teams’ departure continues to be on hold, pending foolproof security assurance from India.

The match, which was in doubt following protests by ex-servicemen and war veterans in the wake of the Pathankot terrorist attack, was relocated to the Eden Gardens after the Pak security delegation recommended to the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Government that there was a threat perception to the team and it wouldn’t be right to play such an important game under uncertain security environment.

“The evening match will take place in Kolkata as scheduled on March 19. The decision to relocate the match has been taken for security reasons. The concerns initially arose following Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh’s comments reportedly warning of demonstrations and attempts to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the match,” ICC CEO Dave Richardson said.

“Our concerns relate both to uncertainty as to the level of those threats as well as the level of commitment to implement any security plan developed to mitigate such threats. The decision was not taken lightly. People’s safety is of paramount importance to the ICC and we have taken into consideration the concerns shared with us by our security advisers as well as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB),” Richardson said.

A PCB media release said: “We have conveyed to the ICC and BCCI that our government is expecting an assurance against specific threats to the Pakistan team… Pending this assurance and, in accordance with the recommendation by the security delegation, the PCB has decided to defer the departure of Pakistan teams.” 

At this, Richardson said the ball was now in the PCB court since their apprehensions had been addressed. 

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