Pakistan cricket team will be travelling to India to participate in the 2016 World Twenty20 in March but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning to keep them away from Mumbai and Nagpur due to the security condition in Maharashtra.
Once again, the villain of the story is none other than Shiv Sena whom the BCCI thinks will cause law and order hassle in the state if Pakistan plays in the aforementioned grounds.
Out of the eight grounds in India that will host the biggest event of the shortest format in cricket, Vidarbha Cricket Association in Nagpur and MCA (Wankhede Stadium) are both situated in Maharashtra. The other venues are Kolkata, Dharamsala, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mohali.
“BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur spoke to government bodies in Maharashtra and they have advised us to not have any Pakistan games as political parties might create some protest and there could be law and order situation in the state,” explained a top BCCI official to The Indian Express.
“We don’t know what the situation will be between both countries by next year but we don’t want to take any risk.”
Shiv Sena has been the cause of distress for the Indian government when it comes to Pakistani sportsmen visiting the country. They have previously opposed Pakistani athletes’ participation in Kabaddi and Hockey last year when the respective leagues were being held in Maharashtra.
Thakur happens to be BJP’s Member of Parliament and his party is also in power in the state and centre. This means that BCCI are going to play safe and not schedule any Pakistani match on the two venues.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has not yet announced a draw for the World Twenty20 but chances are that India, Pakistan and West Indies will be placed in the same group. Meanwhile, according to The Indian Express, Pakistan might face India in Chennai or Mohali.
“We will ensure that such a draw is been made that Pakistan team will not have to play any games in two venues in (Wankhede and VCA) Maharashtra. As the final will be held at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, there will be no problem in Bengal,” the BCCI official added.