BCCI secy hopes Dharamsala will remain Indo-Pak World T20 venue

New Delhi : The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, Anurag Thakur, on Thursday said that he is optimistic that the much-awaited World Twenty20 match between India and Pakistan will be held in the scheduled venue of Dharamsala.

The 45-year-old BJP MP said that the meeting with Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was held in a very positive way, adding that he was hoping the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh would take a decision in the benefit of the nation and the sport.

“I met the Himachal Chief Minister and had talks with him in a good atmosphere. We have discussed each and everything. The state government will also try and speak to those people who have raised concerns. And I am very hopeful that we will have a positive outcome out of this,” Thakur said during an event to announce the signing of Pepsi as an associate sponsor of the BCCI.

Earlier, Virbhadra had expressed his aversion to the Indo-Pak match in his state saying, “At this point of time, Pakistan’s match should not be in Dharamsala. BCCI should either cancel or shift the match to other state to honour the sentiments of families of martyrs.”

His comments came after the ex-servicemen and families of slain army officials opposed to stage a match involving Pakistan in the wake of the recent Pathankot attacks.

Admitting that there were no restrictions from the BCCI to host the India-Pakistan World T20 in Dharamsala, Thakur said that he was just waiting for the state government’s approval on the matter.

The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president, however, stated that the India-Pakistan bilateral series will not be conducted in Dharamsala until the relations between the two subcontinent nations improve.

“It was decided that bilateral matches between India and Pakistan will not be held in Dharamsala. As the venues for the World Cup matches were decided a year ago, it is not possible to shift the venue at the last moment. So the board and the government will try their best to resolve the issue,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahryar Khan had said earlier that it was the joint responsibility of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Indian government to ensure top security for the Pakistan team during the World T20 match, which is to be held on March 19.

Earlier in October, PepsiCo had terminated its five-year contract as a title sponsor for the IPL, two years ahead of schedule amidst the spot-fixing and betting scandals within the Indian cricket board .(ANI)