Kolkata: The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced a change in venue in the cricket match between India and Pakistan scheduled to be held in Dharamshala. The venue has now been shifted to Kolkata, ICC CEO Dave Richardson said today.
“The decision (to shift the venue to Kolkata) has been taken for security reasons after serious consideration,” Richardson told the media, adding that those who had purchased the tickets for the match will get a full refund of the amount. Alternatively, they could also exchange their tickets for the Kolkata match.
Kolkata was earlier pegged to be an ideal choice as compared to other prospective venues like Mohali and Bengaluru to host the India-Pakistan encounter of the ICC World Twenty20 on March 19.
A top BCCI official had said that Kolkata would be feasible from broadcasting point of view and would be an ideal venue security wise.
"Logistically, and from security point of view, Kolkata is the ideal place for the match as they would not have to travel to Dharamshala... It's feasible from broadcasting point of view as they would not have to the cost for taking the expensive broadcasting kit to another venue," a BCCI official said.
The West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee in the past too had shown keen interest to host BCCI's meeting with PCB after their proposed talk in Mumbai faced protest from Shiv Sena activists.
As per the ICC itinerary, Pakistani team are slated to camp in Kolkata where they will play two warm-up games (against Bengal, March 12 and Sri Lanka, March 14) and one in the main round against Group A qualifier March 16.
In a late night development yesterday, the Pakistan Cricket Board had put its team departure to India on hold following security concerns for the marquee match originally scheduled to be played in Dharamsala.
As per the schedule, Pakistan were to arrive late evening today and fly out to Dharamsala on March 17 but if the match is shifted they will remain here till March 20 before heading to Mohali where they face New Zealand March 22.
After a recce of Dharamsala, the PCB were reluctant to play there citing security concerns.
"The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister has not committed full security for the match and the Indian government has also not come up with any assuring statement... Under the prevailing circumstances how can we allow our team to play there?" PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said yesterday.
With PTI Inputs