India Pakistan World T20 Game To Go On As Per Schedule Rajeev Shukla
Amidst growing concerns over the fate of the India-Pakistan ICC World T20 2016 league match, scheduled to be held on March 19, in Dharamsala, Rajeev Shukla, senior Board of Control for Cricket in India functionary, has ruled out any change of venue. He has also categorically stated that the match will take place as per schedule and at the same ground.
"As far as the match is concerned, we are firm that we will be hosting the match there (Dharamsala) as per schedule because there are interests of commitments which requires to be fulfilled. Otherwise, the ICC will take a stern action against the venue. The state government is also willing to cooperate," Shukla, who is also the Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman, said on March 4 (Friday).
Virbhadra Singh, the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, who also belongs to the same political party (Congress) as that of Rajeev Shukla, had earlier cast aspersions on hosting the much-hyped contest. He had reasoned that the recent terrorist attacks at the Pathankot air base, which claimed many lives, had left ex-servicemen and the families of soldiers martyred an aggrieved lot and it wasn't feasible hosting an India-Pakistan match under those circumstances.
Contrary to the chief minister's statements, Anurag Thakur, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) President, who is also a secretary in the BCCI, had asserted that while an India-Pakistan bilateral match wasn't feasible under the prevailing political atmosphere, it was imperative that Dharamsala fulfills its obligations to the ICC World T20, as the pride and prestige of the nation were at stake.
Shukla has also promised foolproof security to the Pakistan team during the entire course of the tournament. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman, Shahryar Khan, had demanded written clarity on the security aspects from the Indian government - failing which, Pakistan reserved its right to boycott the tournament.
"As far as the BCCI is concerned, foolproof security will be provided to Pakistan. They should not worry about the security arrangements. Now the decision has to be taken by the PCB (if they want to come or not). They are accountable to the ICC (International Cricket Council). The PCB should decide on the matter but we will be providing foolproof security to their players," Shukla said.
The World T20 is due to kick-off on March 8 with eight nations battling to secure the final two qualifying spots ahead of the tournament proper - which starts with India facing New Zealand, on March 15 in Nagpur.