New Delhi: The much-awaited India-Pakistan World Twenty20 clash is in jeopardy after the Himachal Pradesh government expressed its inability to provide security for the match, leaving the BCCI in a bind with Board Secretary Anurag Thakur saying that the state should not "play politics".
The March 19 game is to be played in Dharamsala but its fate is now uncertain after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh wrote to the Home Ministry stating that the state government cannot provide security for the match.
Reacting sharply to Singh's statement, Thakur, who is also a BJP MP in Lok Sabha, said the state knew of the schedule months in advance and did not specify any such concerns at that time.
"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," Thakur told reporters here.
"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?" Thakur asked.
"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.
Yesterday, the Himachal Pradesh Congress had asked the BCCI to either cancel the proposed match or shift the venue.
The party claimed that since Kangra is home to a large number of soldiers, including Kargil War heroes like Captain Vikram Batra and Captain Saurabh Kalia, hosting the Pakistani team would hurt the sentiments of martyrs' families.
Earlier, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minster Virbhadra Singh has said that India versus Pakistan match should not be held in Dharamsala.The HP CM said "We have written to the Home Minister on behalf of the govt regarding this matter".
Reports say that the state govt has conceded that they cannot provide security to Pakistani team.
Earlier, Himachal Pradesh Congress on Monday asked the BCCI to either cancel the proposed India-Pakistan T-20 World Cup match slated for March 19 at Dharamsala or shift the venue.
The executive of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee also criticised the Secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and BJP MP Anurag Thakur for the decision to hold the match in Dharamsala.
"BCCI should either cancel or shift the match to other state to honour the sentiments of families of martyrs," HPCC president Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahryar Khan has said that it is the joint responsibility of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Indian government to ensure best security for the Pakistan team in the ICC World T20 2016.
"We got permission from our govt to go into the World Cup T20. Now, the security is India's responsibility,"he said.
"I am sure public there will want us to play matches there," Khan added.
Khan told the media in Lahore on Monday that the PCB was closely monitoring all developments surrounding the World T20 and Pakistan's participation in it.