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Pakistan team may leave for World T20 on Friday

Indo Pak

Lahore: The national cricket team may depart for the World Twenty20 tournament in India on Friday.

According to a report by Geo TV, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is likely to allow the team to depart for the neighbouring country after the Super 10 Group 2 clash against India was shifted from Dharamsala to Kolkata.

The match, scheduled to be played on March 19, had to be shifted after serving and retired Indian Army personnel and political leaders in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh opposed it since Kangra district — where Dharamsala is situated — is home to a large number of martyrs’ families.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had also stated that the administration will not be able to provide adequate security for the event. Although the Indian government was willing to provide paramilitary forces to secure the match venue, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to shift the tie on Wednesday.

The national team was originally due to leave for India on Tuesday evening. But the PCB postponed the departure as they awaited the final report from the three-member security delegation which they had sent to review the security arrangements in Dharamsala.

The PCB is demanding written assurances from a senior functionary of the Indian government on the security of the Pakistan team during the World T20. But according to sources, the Indian government is unlikely to accede to the demand due to political reasons.

PCB chairman Shahryar Khan spoke with the Pakistan players on Thursday and told them to remain focused on the game. Khan told the players that the current situation is similar to the conditions in 1999 when the team went on a tour of India and came back victorious.

The match faces a security threat in Kolkata as well, with the Anti-Terrorist Front of India (ATFI) threatening to dig up the pitch at Eden Gardens on Wednesday. The ATFI has been opposing hosting of the Pakistan team until the terror masterminds behind the Mumbai, Pathankot and the recent Pampore attacks are handed over to India by Pakistan.

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