The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has revealed that the issue of Pakistan’s participation in the ICC World Twenty20 in India in March-April had been discussed at the recent International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai.
PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan said that a proposal was also floated about having Pakistan’s matches at neutral venues if it didn’t get permission from its government to tour India for the World T20 in March. Khan said that at the meeting he made the point that the Pakistan government might not allow its team to play the World T20 in India as it faces specific threats from extremists in India.
Yes some member did bring up the point that if our team didn’t get clearance to go to India maybe our matches be held at a neutral venue like Dubai, Sharjah or Colombo,” he said. He said he had made it clear at the ICC meeting that Pakistan’s participation in the World T20 was subject to government clearance. “I made it clear we have to see what our government says because the Indian Board has not played a bilateral series against us in December because their government didn’t give them clearance,” he added.
“India didn’t play the planned series on pleas they didn’t get clearance although it was relocated to Sri Lanka and shortened just to ensure the indo-pak ties were revived,” he said. Khan said he had informed the ICC members there are specific threats to the Pakistan team. He said there had been incidents in recent months which pointed to Pakistan specific threats one of them was the ICC decision to pull out Pakistani Umpire Aleem Dar midway from a series in India in which he officiated. He also recalled the cancellation of a scheduled meeting with BCCI officials in Mumbai because of threats from Shiv Sena activists and also threats to Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali. The former career diplomat said cricket was vastly different from sending teams to India in other sports like the Pakistan contingent in Guwahati for the SAF games at present. He noted even Pakistan’s hockey players faced problems from extremist elements in India and had to return home midway from the Indian hockey league. Khan said threats to cricketers were always real because of the high profile status cricket and cricketers had in both countries.