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India-Pakistan WT20 match in Dharamsala as scheduled: BCCI

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 08, 2016 19:06 IST
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The HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala

IMAGE: The scenic HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala

The much-anticipated World Twenty20 match between India and Pakistan will be held as scheduled in Dharamsala, Tournament Director M V Sridhar confirmed on Tuesday.

"The match is on. The state and central governments are on board and all security arrangements have been made," he said, after a meeting with Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry M K Singla besides others in Delhi.

Pakistan will play India on March 19 in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.

There is some opposition, including from ex-servicemen, in the state on holding the match at the hill station.

Sridhar, however, said discussions with Home Ministry officials remained inconclusive and a few issues are yet to be sorted out.

General Manager of Cricket Operations in the BCCI, he was accompanied by IPL anti-corruption and security unit head and former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar and a few other BCCI officials.

Representatives of Himachal Pradesh government were also present at the meeting.

Singla said a delegation from Pakistan had visited Dharamsala and expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements in the stadium as well as hotels in the picturesque hill station.

He added that Kangra District Magistrate and the local Inspector General of Police assured full protection to players and the venue.

Besides the Dharamsala match, Pakistan will play two matches in Mohali, Punjab -- against New Zealand on March 22 and against Australia on March 25.

Pakistan will also play a match in Kolkata on March 16.

The team of Pakistani officials arrived in India on Monday to review security arrangements for their team.

Earlier in the day, Sridhar said he is "more than hopeful" of the event's marquee clash going ahead as scheduled.

"I am more than hopeful on behalf of the BCCI and on the behalf of the tournament. Whatever the actual status on the ground has been communicated to the Pakistan team. And now the decision is with them. Obviously, they will also consult their own government, High Commission, based on that they will come back to us," he told reporters.

The Pakistani delegation, headed by Director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Usman Anwar, and comprising Pakistan Cricket Board official Ajam Khan, crossed over to India via the land transit route of Attari-Wagah border of Punjab on Monday.

Pakistan are scheduled to start their WT20 campaign on March 16 against a qualifier before clashing with India on March 19.

However, the much-anticipated match was thrown into jeopardy after HP Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the game should be shifted out to respect popular sentiments after the Pathankot terror attacks.

Sridhar said the ICC is firm on holding the match in Dharamsala.

"The district administration has very clearly stated that they are committed to giving complete security, not only for the India versus Pakistan match, but for all the matches which are going to be held in Dharamsala.

"That's the commitment given by both sides – the administration and the police. So, that has been clearly communicated to the Pakistani delegation," Sridhar said.

The Pakistan security team will submit its report to the PCB and the Pakistani government before a final decision is announced.

- Complete coverage: ICC World T20 2016

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