South Africa in India 2015-16 October 19, 2015

Security concerns force Akram, Akhtar, Dar to leave India early

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Aleem Dar withdrawn from umpiring South Africa-India matches

Former Pakistan cricketers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, who are in India as part of Star Sports' commentary team for the India-South Africa series, will return home before the fifth ODI in Mumbai. The early departure is a security precaution, following Monday's anti-Pakistan protests by the Shiv Sena, a regional political party, who stormed into the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai ahead of a scheduled meeting between BCCI and PCB officials.

Akram's agent Arsalan Haider confirmed that the pair would commentate on the fourth ODI in Chennai and return on October 23, two days before the Mumbai ODI.

The news broke soon after the ICC withdrew Aleem Dar, the Pakistani umpire, from the last two ODIs. An ICC release cited "Monday's incident in Mumbai where a group of extremists stormed into the BCCI office" as the reason for its decision.

On Monday morning, a short while before BCCI president Shashank Manohar and PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan were to discuss a proposed India-Pakistan series in December, a group of 50 workers from the Shiv Sena stormed into the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai, shouting anti-Pakistan slogans and demanding the cancellation of the series.

Dar, who is a member of the elite panel of ICC umpires, had officiated in the first three ODIs, and was also scheduled to umpire in the fourth and fifth ODIs, in Chennai and Mumbai. However, the Shiv Sena threatened to stop Dar from officiating in the Mumbai ODI, forcing the ICC's hand.

"Under the present circumstances, it will be unreasonable to expect from Aleem that he will be able to perform his duties to the best of his abilities," an ICC spokesperson said.

Shortly after the protests, Anurag Thakur, the BCCI secretary, was asked about the incident, and whether the board could guarantee Dar's safety.

"There was a possibility of a protest in Saurashtra too where more than 50000 spectators attended. What is the threat and what is the perception, I can't get into it," Thakur said. "India has to host the World Twenty20 in 2016 so it is the responsibility of every Indian to maintain the image that we have of appreciating and enjoying performances of even the opponents. Political issues should be kept aside."

The ICC on Tuesday said in a release that umpire S Ravi would stand in place of Dar for the fourth ODI in Chennai in "exceptional circumstances" as it would lead to two Indian umpires on the field, after BCCI and CSA agreed to it. Ravi was initially supposed to officiate for the ongoing Test series between Pakistan and England in the UAE. The ICC did not name Dar's replacement for the fifth and final ODI in Mumbai.

*1620GMT: The story was amended to include news of Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar's early departures

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Hussain Fadwani on October 22, 2015, 23:30 GMT

    Actions of few do not represent the intentions and the ideology of all. A few people vs. a billion people. I mean c'mon y'all, that is what "they" want. They want division. But anyway:

    Cricket to Cricket hai yaar. Ball phaink, tamasha dekh. Ek taraf Dhoni, dusri taraf Wahab Riaz. Ek taraf Afridi, dusri taraf Harbajhan. #Ballphainktamashadeikh

    One love from the States!

  •   Cricinfouser on October 22, 2015, 10:18 GMT

    It's time to move T20 World Cup 2016 to another country. Otherwise Pakistan should boycott it and no need to participate in it.

  •   Jalil Hassan on October 22, 2015, 4:28 GMT

    t20 wc must move to south africa or zimbabwe or west indies.

  •   Jalil Hassan on October 22, 2015, 4:24 GMT

    pakistan boycott not only t20 wc with other games as well.

  • i_love_indian_team on October 21, 2015, 19:54 GMT

    This is embarrassing. I think BCCI seriously should not consider Mumbai as a venue for its future matches for some years. It is really sad to see the umpire Aleem and great cricketers like Wasim and Shoaib had to go just because of a bunch of idiots. They do not know that they are digging their own grave and majority of the Indians do not like them.

  • Waqas.Norway on October 21, 2015, 18:44 GMT

    It's time to move T20 World Cup 2016 to another country. Otherwise Pakistan should boycott it and no need to participate in it.

    If India can not provide security to Aleem Dar, how can they provide security to Pakistani team?

    India is not safe to play cricket for any country in fact. The latest proof for that is Cuttack T20I between India and South Africa where even Indian team was not safe on the field.

    If India is knocked out in group stage of World T20 2016 what will happen? So better to move the tournament to a safer place in right time before it's too late.....

  • wahidmca on October 21, 2015, 14:42 GMT

    @SUYOGA. I don't understand why there is fight between statistics and you are unsuccessfully trying to prove that India has been a better team. Secondly Your theory about ranking is totally Wrong. If Pakistan is ranked higher it means they have played better cricket. They should not be getting enough points for defeating Bangladesh or Zimbabwe . Secondly

  • ady001 on October 21, 2015, 10:10 GMT

    Pakistan should avoid playing in India the upcoming T20 worldcup and any future cricket in India. They have serious security issues in India.

  • fouq on October 21, 2015, 9:45 GMT

    what to say about the attitude of this BBCI behaviour. they can not give security to one Umpire, they invited us to play a short series earlier in 2012-13, and we played in india, and now when they have to play series in UAE, they asked our chairman to come to India, and then they did not meet him when he reached there.. come on Indian people kindly answer me only one question, is it the way of treating a guest in your home? pathetic display by India.. Come on pakistan please do not partiipate in World T20 if it is not shifted from India, no more cricket with India, Please, no more cricket with India at any level.

  •   Muhammad Raheel Shafiq on October 21, 2015, 9:16 GMT

    such bad behavior of shiv sena and pathetic attitude of Indian govt, just suppose if it was happened in Pakistan then what would b the drama against Pakistan. Serious security threat to on job elite panel umpire :O ,all nations should re-think for playing T20 wc in India, do India realy deserve to host intl cricket