World Cup

Thakur hopeful of WT20 match in Dharamsala

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur on Thursday said he was hopeful of the Himachal Pradesh government giving the go ahead for the World Twenty20 match between India and Pakistan in Dharamsala following a meeting with Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

Mr. Thakur said he expected the March 19 match to go ahead as scheduled despite the government stating that it did not want to host the game.

“I am very hopeful [of the match taking place]. The meeting [with Chief Minister on Wednesday] was held in a very positive atmosphere. The government will also try and speak to those [families and few others] who have raised concerns. I am very hopeful of a positive outcome. The government have to announce that the match is on. From the BCCI’s side, the match is on,” he said.

Mr. Virbhadra Singh had expressed inability to provide security for the marquee clash in the wake of objections raised by the Kangra-based families of martyrs and ex-servicemen, who consider hosting Pakistan as an “insult” to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Pathankot airbase terror attack in January.

Mr. Thakur, who is also a BJP MP, said a decision was taken that any bilateral match between India and Pakistan would not be held in Dharamsala but the World T20 game must take place as the State and the country’s image was at stake.

“It was decided [in the meeting] that in case of a bilateral series between India and Pakistan, no matches should be held in Dharamsala. But the venues for the World T20 were decided a year ago and to organise the match elsewhere now is almost impossible. So we [BCCI] and the State government are making our best efforts to sort out the issue at the earliest. Bilateral series is a different ball game. But this is a world event and India has the honour to host the event. We are not hosting with any other country. India is the sole host and onus is on us to make it a successful event,” he said.

Asked about the objections raised by families of martyrs post the Pathankot attack, he said: “We all condemn the Pathankot attack. But at the same time, we can’t bring politics to sports.

“We have the utmost respect for our martyred soldiers and their families but some of the people [mainly politicians] who are objecting to the game are same people who let Pakistan play in Dharamsala post Kargil War. In 2005, these same people were seen with the Pakistani players,” said the BCCI secretary, who is also heads the Himachal cricket association.

He said the BCCI didt not have Plan B if the match is not allowed to take place. “There is no Plan B. It is anyway not easy to make changes at the last moment.”

He said the Chief Minister had assured that there are enough security personnel ifor the big match.

“I asked the Chief Minister that if there is a shortage of security personnel in HP, you can also take the help of central government. But he has assured that the State has enough policemen to provide security,” Mr. Thakur added.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 9:20:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/icc-world-t20-championships-india-versus-pakistan-match-at-dharamsala-thakur-hopeful-of-wt20-match-in-dharamsala/article8309632.ece

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