An India-Pakistan World Twenty 20 (WT20) match to be played on March 19 has been shifted from Dharamshala to Kolkata, the International Cricket Council (or ICC) has informed. The decision has been taken following consultation with the BCCI, the relevant state associations, the ICC and BCCI security consultant and other relevant authorities.
The Himachal Pradesh government has said that hosting the match in Dharamsala hurts the sentiments of the families whose soldiers died in the Pathankot Air Base attack. Announcing the decision, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said, “The decision has been taken following consultation with the BCCI, the relevant state associations, the ICC and BCCI security consultant and other relevant authorities. The decision to relocate the match has been made for security reasons. The concerns initially arose following alleged public comments recently reported by the Chief Minister of Hamachal Pradesh, warning of demonstration and attempt to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the match”.
The Cricket Association of Bengal had expressed keenness to stage the game if it was shifted, arguing that both Bengaluru and Mohali --- the other alternative venues – have already been allotted an India game apiece.
As per the earlier schedule, Pakistan were to arrive late evening on the 17th March, 2016 and fly out to Dharamsala, but now, owing to the change in venue, they will remain in Kolkata till 20th March before heading to Mohali where they face New Zealand on 22nd March. Pakistan will play their first warm-up tie against a Bengal eleven in Kolkata, where they begin their campaign by facing a qualifier in the Super 10 group 2 stages.
So Dharamsala's loss is Kolkata's gain as the marquee India-Pakistan encounter of the ICC WT20 has been shifted to the city of Joy.