Govt approves Pakistan's visit to India
Months of speculation over Pakistan's participation in the 2016 World Twenty20 ended on Thursday after the government approved the team's visit to India for the tournament. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan said he was 'pleased' that the government had given its consent for the team's participation but called upon the International Cricket Council (ICC) to put in 'special' security arrangements for the Pakistan team.
"I am pleased that our Government has given its consent for our team to visit India. As a duty of care, we have asked ICC to put in place special arrangements for the Pakistan cricket team while in India," Khan said in a press release. Earlier this month, Khan had revealed that the PCB had given a proposal to the ICC to stage Pakistan's World T20 matches at a neutral venue in the event that the government did not allow the team to tour India.
According to Khan, Pakistan's participation in the tournament, hosted by India, from March 8 to April 3, was subject to government clearance as there were specific threats against Shahid Afridi's team.
"We have told the ICC (International Cricket Council) now and before as well, the decision (to tour India) is with the government and it will consider if there is a specific Pakistan oriented security threat," Khan had said.
But doubts over Pakistan's visit were finally put to rest and it seems Afridi's men can finally focus on the task at hand. Pakistan take on a qualifier on March 16 before facing off against India at Dharamsala on March 19 in the World T20's most anticipated clash. Hundreds of Pakistani fans are expected to travel for the fixture and the PCB chairman has requested the ICC to accommodate them "We will also be expecting visa facilitation and other arrangements for the Pakistani fans wishing to visit India for the ICC World T20 2016."