Team will not travel to India until security clearance granted

LAHORE: Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board, Shaharyar M Khan has welcomed the decision of International Cricket Council for shifting Pak-India match of the World Cup T20 tournament from Dharamasal to Kolkata but made it clear that Pak team will not travel to India till security clearance is granted to it by the Pakistani authorities.

“International Cricket Council has taken a good decision by shifting the March 19 in the larger interest of cricket and keeping in view the ongoing situation in Dharamasala,” he said while addressing a news conference here on Wednesday at Gadaffi stadium.

He said PCB was in constant touch with the ICC and other quarters after threats to the Pakistani team to play in Dharamasala.

“We cannot let our team travel to India until Government gives us security clearance and we will be fully obeying the decision and direction of the Ministry of Interior in this regard,” he said.

He said the same will apply on the women team which was also awaiting Government’s decision for its participation in the Cup.

PCB Chief said the ICC Chief Executive David Richardson has said: “The decision has been taken following consultation with the BCCI, the relevant state associations, the ICC and BCCI security consultant
and other relevant authorities.” The decision to relocate the match has been made for security reasons.

The concerns initially arose following alleged public comments recently reported by the Chief Minister of Hamachal Pradesh, warning of demonstrations and attempts of disrupt the peaceful conduct of the match “Finally, I would like to confirm that the ICC has been assured by all relevant state authorities that all adequate security measures are in place and will be implemented to ensure that the event is staged in a safe and secure environment for all stakeholders, said ICC official.

The Chairman PCB said Pakistan team was receiving threats in India and three Indian groups were in forefront of hurling threats to disrupt the Pak-India match in Dharmalsal.

“In such circumstances how can we send our team to India”, he said adding “The Indian Cricket Board authorities have assured us regarding the safety and security of the Pak team but we have left the final decision on our Government after going through every aspect as far security of our team was concerned”.

To a question, he described the T20 World Cup a ‘tough and challenging event’ in which worlds best teams are playing.

“After our teams dismal performance in the Asia Cup, I think it (our team) still has a chance to perform to a higher level to justify the point that it is still among world best teams”, he said adding “The players who proved a failure in the Asia Cup can avail this opportunity by living up to the expectations by demonstrating excellence in their respective departments of the game”.

The PCB Chief said changes were made in the team for World Cup after a thorough analysis of team’s poor performance in Asia Cup and a committee was constituted to look into the factors which let the
team down in the event.

“The committee will probe into the matter and submit its finding to us after which certain decisions will be taken to improve its performance”, said Shaharyar M Khan.