New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday relocated the India vs Pakistan group stage World T20 match, to be played on March 19, from Dharamsala to Kolkata citing security reasons.
ICC CEO Dave Richardson announced the decision at a press conference here. The match will be played at the historic Eden Gardens ground where the final of the tournament will also be held. Eden was supposed to host four matches prior to the announcement.
“Security concerns arose following public comments reported in media allegedly made by HP CM warning of potential demonstrations,” Richardson said.
“Our concerns relate both to uncertainty as to level of those threats and also uncertainty as to level of commitment to implement security plans that have been developed to mitigate those threats.”
“It is not the first time venues have been changed due to security issues. The state government should’ve raised their concerns earlier,” the former South African wicket-keeper added.
Pakistan refused to play in Dharamsala and on Tuesday night, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) held back their team from travelling to India following security concerns over the game.
“The step was taken after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) shared its concerns with us. The people who have bought tickets will be refunded or they can exchange them with the tickets for the Kolkata match,” said Richardson.
While answering a question, Richardson said the ICC has not yet considered any penalty or punishment for the state.
“We haven’t thought about punishment for state as of right now. The ICC has been assured by all state authorities that adequate security measures are in place at all venues. The event will be staged in safe and secure environment.”
Tournament director M.V. Sridhar expressed his sadness at the decision.
“It’s a clear disappointment considering the preparation that had gone into this.”