Himachal government not keen on hosting India-Pakistan T20 WC game

The eagerly anticipated India-Pakistan match
of the T20 WC 2016 has run into another
controversy after Virbhadra Singh, chief
minister of Himachal Pradesh, on Tuesday
(March 1) expressed his inability to provide
security for the match, leaving the Board of
Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in a fix with
just a week to go for the start of the multi-
nation event.
The marquee clash of Group 2 is scheduled to
be played in the hill-town of Dharamsala on
March 19 but its fate hangs in the balance
after Virbhadra Singh wrote to the Indian
home ministry stating that the state
government would not be able to provide
adequate security for the match.
Reacting to Mr. Singh's claims, Anurag
Thakur, the BCCI secretary, hit back angrily
stating that petty politics was being resorted
to at a time when the country's image was at
stake. "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," he
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? 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.
On Monday, the Himachal Pradesh Congress,
a political rival of the Thakur-represented
Bhartiya Janata Party, had asked the BCCI to
either cancel the proposed match or shift the
venue. Only last week, did the Pakistan team
receive clearance from their government to
travel to India, ending a period of uncertainty
surrounding their participation in the
tournament.
Pakistan are not scheuled to play any
matches in the state of Maharasthra, where
protests from a regional political party,
disrupted talks of a bilateral series in October
2015. They open their campaign with a game
against a Qualifier in Kolkata. Following the
game against India, they play games against
New Zealand and Australia in Mohali. Should
they qualify to the semi finals, they will be
play in New Delhi irrespective of where they
finish in the group stages.
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