Shaharyar Khan, the PCB chairman, has been given clearance for Pakistan to travel to India © AFP
Pakistan have received government clearance to travel to India and participate in the World Twenty20, bringing to an end a period of uncertainty about their involvement in the tournament.
The trip will involve Pakistan’s first matches on Indian soil in more than three years, and comes after the Pakistan Cricket Board had raised security concerns with the ICC.
However, Shaharyar Khan, the PCB chairman, confirmed on Thursday that the Pakistan government had given its consent for the team to travel to India for the tournament, where they are due to play the hosts in Dharamsala on March 19.
“I am pleased that our government has given its consent,” said Shaharyar. “As a duty of care, we have asked the ICC to put in place special arrangements for the Pakistan cricket team while in India.
“We will also be expecting visa facilitation and other arrangements for the Pakistani fans wishing to visit India for the ICC World T20 2016.”
Pakistan have not played a Test series in India since 2007, and have been forced to play their home series in the UAE since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009. Their last series in India featured limited-overs matches between December 2012 and January 2013.
In October 2015, talks between the India and Pakistan boards for a proposed series in December were put on hold after protests from the Shiv Sena, a regional political party. Following the protests, the ICC withdrew umpire Aleem Dar from the last two ODIs of the South Africa series [the fifth match was held in Mumbai] and former Pakistan cricketers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, who were in India on commentary duty, also returned home early.
In the World T20, none of Pakistan’s league games will be played in the state of Maharashtra. Pakistan will start their tournament with a match against the first-round qualifier on March 16 in Kolkata. After the match against India, they will play their remaining group matches – against New Zealand and Australia – in Mohali. Should Pakistan qualify for the semi-final, they will play that match in New Delhi, regardless of whether they finish first or second in their group; the other qualifier from their group will play the semi-final allotted to Mumbai.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo