ICC Shifts Pakistan-India World T20 Venue To Kolkata

LAHORE: Owing to security concerns, the InternationalCricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday moved the venue for Pakistan-India World T20 match to Kolkata from Dharamsala, which is scheduled to take place on 19 March.

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The ICC made a formal announcement at a hurriedly convened press conference in New Delhi (India).

“The decision has been taken to migrate the Pakistan-India match from Dharamsala to Kolkata for security reasons,” chief executive of the cricket's representing body, David Richardson, told reporters.

“The bottom line is ... security is paramount and it's a difficult decision, not one that we wanted to make because we wanted to stick with the original plan but one we have been forced into.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) now anticipates the Government of Pakistan's approval to send its team to participate in the tournament.

The development comes after the PCB put on hold the departure of its men and women's cricket teams for the World T20, asking for the match to be relocated because to security reasons.

The Associated Press on Wednesday quoted a PCB official as saying that the ICC had been asked to consider Mohali or Kolkata as options venues for the March 19 match against the tournament hosts.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak freely on the subject.

The Pakistan squad had been scheduled to travel to Kolkata on Wednesday for its opening group match on 16 March.

A Pakistan security delegation visited Dharamsala on Monday, prompting the call for a venue change.

The destiny of the match between Pakistan and India became uncertain after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh wrote to the Home Ministry expressing that the state government can't 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 prior statement and said that Dharamsala can still host the match.

“If there are any protests, we will guarantee to keep them away from the venue,” the Himachal Pradesh chief minister told Indian media.

Prior, Richardson additionally said that the ICC was nearly observing the circumstances in relation to the Pakistan-India match.

“The speculation and instability 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 near to the event which is not perfect but unfortunately we cannot ignore them and we are dealing with it as best as we can,” he had said.

The first round of the World T20 began on Tuesday. The top eight-ranked countries, including Pakistan, will join the competition from the “Super 10” stage which starts on 15 March.

Pakistan is because of playing their opening match against the first-round qualifier in Kolkata on 16 March.

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