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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Himachal doesn't want to host India v Pak WT20 tie, BCCI in a fix

Himachal doesn't want to host India v Pak WT20 tie, BCCI in a fix

Last updated on: March 01, 2016 16:59 IST

- 'I think if the match takes place in Dharamsala, it would be against the will of the people of Himachal Pradesh.'

IMAGE: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left, is congratulated by Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi after the Asia Cup match in Mirpur. India beat Pakistan by five wickets. Photograph: Solaris Images

The much-awaited India-Pakistan World Twenty20 clash is in jeopardy after the Himachal Pradesh government expressed its inability to provide security for the match, leaving the Board of Control for Cricket in India in a bind and its secretary, Anurag Thakur, saying the state should not 'play politics'.

- Should India play World T20 match against Pakistan in Dharamshala?

The March 19 game is slated to be played in Dharamsala but its fate is now uncertain after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh wrote to the Home Ministry stating that the state government cannot provide security for the match.

- ICC World Twenty20 2016: The full schedule

"We have written to the Union Home Minister on behalf of the government regarding this matter. I think if the match takes place in Dharamsala, it would be against the will of the people of Himachal Pradesh," Singh said in Shimla.

"If our war veterans don't want the Indo-Pak match to be held in Dharamsala, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association should accept it. They are not opposing the holding of matches. They are against the Pakistan team playing in Himachal Pradesh," he added.

IMAGE: The HPCA stadium in Dharamsala under lights. Photograph: BCCI

Reacting sharply to Singh's statement, Thakur, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party MP in the Lok Sabha, said the state knew of the schedule months in advance and did not specify any such concerns at that time.

"The venues of the World Cup matches were decided one year ago, the allotment of matches was decided six months ago. People all over have made bookings and it is not fair to give such statements at the last minute," Thakur said.

"The Congress-led state government is clearly playing politics. Hundreds of Pakistani athletes were given security during the South Asian Games in Assam, why can't the Himachal government do the same?" Thakur asked.

"By claiming that you cannot provide security, you are only giving credence to Pakistani claims that there is a security threat to their team in India. It's about the country's image, you cannot play politics over it," he added.

IMAGE: The HPCA stadium in Dharamsala. Photograph: BCCI

On Monday, the Himachal Pradesh Congress had asked the BCCI to either cancel the proposed match or shift the venue.

The party claimed that since Kangra is home to a large number of soldiers, including Kargil War heroes, like Captain Vikram Batra and Captain Saurabh Kalia, hosting the Pakistani team would hurt the sentiments of martyrs' families.

"If our war veterans don't want Indo-Pak match to be held in Dharamshala, Himachal Cricket Association should accept their condition. Many incidents have taken place in recent past, like Pathankot attack. Soldiers from Himachal lost their lives in Jammu and Kashmir," Singh said.

The ICC World T20 matches in Dharamsala:

Qualifying round:

Mar 9

Group A: Bangladesh v Netherlands

Dharamsala

1500 IST

Mar 9

Group A: Ireland v Oman

Dharamsala

1930 IST

Mar 11

Group A: Oman v Netherlands

Dharamsala

1500 IST

Mar 11

Group A: Bangladesh v Ireland

Dharamsala

1930 IST

Mar 13

Group A: Ireland v Netherlands

Dharamsala

1500 IST

Mar 13

Group A: Bangladesh v Oman

Dharamsala

1930 IST

Main Round:

Mar 18

Group 2: Australia v New Zealand

Dharamsala

1500 IST

Mar 19

Group 2: India v Pakistan

Dharamsala

1930 IST