KARACHI: Owing to security concerns, India’s cricket administration has agreed to move the venue for India-Pakistan World T20 match, which was scheduled to take place on March 19 in Dharamsala, DawnNews reported.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) now awaits the Government of Pakistan’s approval to send its team to participate in the tournament.
A Pakistan Cricket Board official confirmed to Dawn.com that the venue is being shifted, but did not disclose where the marquee clash is going to be played.
The development comes after the PCB put on hold the departure of its men and women’s teams for the World T20, awaiting confirmation for the match to be re-located.
The Associated Press on Wednesday also quoted a PCB official as saying that the ICC had been asked to consider Kolkata or Mohali as alternate venues for the March 19 match against the tournament hosts.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorised to speak publicly on the subject.
Moreover, India’s one of the leading English dailies, The Times of India, reported that “the India-Pakistan encounter is likely to be shifted to the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata”.
It quoted an unnamed BCCI official as saying that Kolkata has the “highest” chance compared to other prospective venues like Mohali and Bengaluru.
The Pakistan squad had been scheduled to travel to Kolkata on Wednesday for its opening group match on March 16, but is now awaiting the ICC’s response.
A Pakistan security delegation visited Dharamsala on Monday, prompting the call for a venue change.
The fate of the match between India and Pakistan became uncertain after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh wrote to the Home Ministry stating that the state government cannot provide security for the game in the wake of the recent terror attack on the Pathankot air base.
However, in an interesting turn of events today, Singh retracted his earlier statement and said that Dharamsala can still host the match.
“If there are any protests, we will ensure to keep them away from the venue,” the Himachal Pradesh chief minister told Indian media.
Earlier, Dave Richardson, the chief executive officer of the ICC, also said that the cricket’s governing body was closely monitoring the situation in relation to the India-Pakistan match as it’s being developed.
“The speculation and uncertainty around venues are created by factors beyond our control. Because they have a reason in recent times, we find ourselves having to deal with it very close to the event which is not ideal but unfortunately we can’t ignore them and we’re dealing with it as best as we can,” he commented.
The South Asian adversaries have not played a full bilateral series since 2007 due to diplomatic tensions.
The first round of the World T20 started on Tuesday. The top eight-ranked nations, including Pakistan, will join the competition from the “Super 10” stage which begins on March 15.
Pakistan is due to play their opening match against a first-round qualifier in Kolkata on March 16.