LAHORE – Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) General Manager media Nadeem Sarwar has said that the board has sought renewed security measures for its women's team when it participates in the ICC World Cup in India from January 25.
Talking to this scribe on Tuesday, the GM media said: “The PCB on Tuesday wrote a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) asking it either to provide foolproof security to Pakistan women team or shift matches to some other venue if the cricket's governing body feels that the step is necessary in view of security issues.”
"We are concerned with the security of our players after the unfortunate incident involving our hockey players in Mumbai," he said and added: "We have written to the ICC and requested them to review all the security arrangements for our players for the World Cup. We just want to be sure about the safety of our players when they play in the World Cup. The relocation of matches of Pakistan team is entirely up to the ICC and the organisers but we have given them this option," Nadeem added.
He, however, dismissed speculation that the PCB was thinking of pulling out its team from the World Cup. "Nothing on those lines has been discussed as yet. We are confident the ICC can handle the situation," he said.
Meanwhile, BCCI president N Srinivasan said that the Indian cricket board had passed the relevant information to the ICC . "We have informed the ICC about it. They will have to examine it and take a view," he said.
The World Cup organisers have been thinking of an alternate venue as a safeguard though no final venue has been decided. "We have not written anything to the ICC asking or informing them about any change of venue. We have just made them aware of what the ground situation is here in Mumbai in a few e-mail exchanges," a board official said on Tuesday. According to him, a final word on the change of venue should be decided in the next two days.
"Any decision will be taken here rather than the ICC . It will be a BCCI decision if there is a shift of venue. The only decision when the ICC will get involved in would be in the extreme scenario of Pakistan pulling out of the tournament. But that happening is quite remote," the official said.
The ICC has been monitoring the situation but is happy to wait for the BCCI to deliver the final decision. "Safety and security of the players and ICC officials is always our priority and we constantly monitor and review every situation," an ICC spokesperson said.
It is pertinent to mention here that on Sunday, the Shiv Sena activists held protests outside the Bombay Hockey Association Stadium, which incidentally is adjacent to the Wankhede Stadium, opposing the presence of four Pakistan hockey players in the Mumbai Magicians' squad in the recently launched Hockey India League. Though the team moved immediately to New Delhi, some Sena activists reached the practice venue in the Indian capital to cause further disruptions. The Sena went public about its intentions, saying it would not allow any Pakistan artistes to perform in Mumbai.
The World Cup will be played at four venues across Mumbai from January 31 to February 17. Wankhede Stadium, Brabourne Stadium, MIG Ground and the Bandra-Kurla Complex ground are the four venues . Pakistan women team, which is in Group B, is scheduled to play its league matches against Australia (January 31), New Zealand (February 3) and South Africa (February 5).