Pakistan news February 9, 2016

PCB seeks government stance on World T20 games in India

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Bazid Khan on Pakistan playing in India

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has hinted that the decision to play Pakistan's World T20 matches at Indian venues will only be taken after consulting with the central government and ESPNcricinfo understands that the PCB has written to the government in this matter. He said that if the central government in Islamabad refuses to allow the team to travel to India for the tournament which starts on March 8, then the board will ask the ICC to shift Pakistan's matches to a neutral venue.

"We have told the ICC the decision is with the government and it's not just us who have to decide," Khan told reporters at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "We need to understand that there are specific Pakistan-oriented security threats and we are concerned, hence [we have] involved the government. These are not general threats, like Australia had in Bangladesh and they did not send their team for the Under-19 World Cup.

"We didn't say or propose playing the World T20 matches at neutral venue but someone at the ICC meeting said that if there are concerns over any extremist activity [at Pakistan matches] then neutral venues will be looked into. Since it's an ICC event and not a bilateral series we have to play it but if the decision [by the government] is negative then maybe the ICC could say that our matches be held in neutral venues in Sri Lanka or United Arab Emirates, and we will be ready for that."

In October 2015, talks between the India and Pakistan boards for a proposed series in December were put on hold after protests from the Shiv Sena, a regional political party. Fifty party workers stormed the BCCI office in Mumbai, shouting anti-Pakistan slogans and demanding that the BCCI cancel the series. Following the protests, the ICC withdrew umpire Aleem Dar from the last two ODIs of the South Africa series [the fifth match was held in Mumbai] and former Pakistan cricketers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, who were in India on commentary duty, also returned home early.

In the World T20, none of Pakistan's league games will be played in the state of Maharashtra. Should Pakistan qualify for the semi-final, they will play that match in New Delhi, regardless of whether they place first or second in their group; the other qualifier from their group will play the semi-final allotted to Mumbai. The semi-final venue could change if Delhi is unable to host World T20 games.

Currently, more than 400 Pakistani athletes across disciplines are in India for the South Asian Games in Guwahati, Assam. Khan, however, said, cricket could attract more threats. "There are more chances of attacks on cricketers than on swimmers and players of other games," he said.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Osama Ali on February 12, 2016, 14:42 GMT

    Hahaha seems people have forgotten last Asia Cup in Bangla!!!!

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 11, 2016, 10:00 GMT

    @sam6e That makes no sense at all. The cost to the BCCI would be immense, far more than the PCB could POSSIBLY afford to compensate them for. If that happens I'm going to write to Cricket Australia and ask them to pull out of the tournament so we can play all of our matches at a neutral venue in, let's say, New Zealand, including the semi finals and final if we make it. Makes sense right?

  • Rafa5x5 on February 11, 2016, 7:32 GMT

    When india dont visit pak in UAE .. No one says nothing !! When pak trying same whole world speaks out ! Shame

  • sam6e on February 11, 2016, 5:12 GMT

    Pakistan should ask to play their matches in UAE and if they reach quarter, semi or final that too should be played in UAE. When india can deny permission to paki players last minute taking excuse of govt then why can't they do the same...Else ICC should not hold any major tournaments in India to avoid embarrassment

  • Damu13579 on February 11, 2016, 4:55 GMT

    pakistan shouldn't dream about neutral venue and things like that.If at all the govt doesn't approve, it should simply withdraw without resorting to any drama, i.e. if pcb wants to avoid embarrassment to itself.

  • Oldtimer01 on February 11, 2016, 2:43 GMT

    No one will miss the pakistanis if they dont come. We will just replace them with ireland, netherlands, hong kong or canada, with hardly any difference in the quality of competition.

  • India_Rules_Everybody on February 11, 2016, 2:11 GMT

    We can replace Pakistan with either Nepal/Afghanistan/Papua New Guinea/Hong Kong without compromising on the quality of the opposition. That way we can also ensure that matches are not fixed. Btw, if BD opposes to playing Hong Kong then we will understand :)

  • shehryar_ashraf on February 10, 2016, 15:44 GMT

    bilateral games and icc tournaments are the same after all its just a cricket match the government should not give clearence just as the government of india did not give clearence tit for tat

  • mohan24111973 on February 10, 2016, 14:58 GMT

    @JAWAD if Pak gets out the team which comes in place of pak will play in dharamshala just Ireland u19 played in same place as aus u19

  • Gnaneshwar Raju on February 10, 2016, 13:39 GMT

    Pakistan are too optimistic in exploring the option of playing in SL or UAE. If AUS or ENG pull out they stay home. same applies to PAK team

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