Kolkata: Dharamsala’s loss may be Kolkata’s gain as the marquee India-Pakistan encounter of the ICC T20 World Cup on March 19 is likely to be shifted to the iconic Eden Gardens here.
The official confirmation from the ICC is awaited but according to top a BCCI official, Kolkata has the “highest” chance compared to other prospective venues like Mohali and Bengaluru.
In a late night development, the Pakistan Cricket Board had put its team’s departure to India on hold following security concerns for the marquee match originally scheduled to be played in Dharamsala.
“Logistically, and from security point of view, Kolkata is the ideal place for the match as they would not have to travel to Dharamshala… It’s feasible from broadcasting point of view as they would not have to the cost for taking the expensive broadcasting kit to another venue,” a BCCI official told PTI.
The West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee in the past too had shown keen interest to host BCCI’s meeting with PCB after their proposed talk in Mumbai faced protest from Shiv Sena activists.
As per the ICC itinerary, Pakistani team is slated to camp in Kolkata where it will play two warm-up games (against Bengal, March 12 and Sri Lanka, March 14) and one in the main round against Group A qualifier March 16.
As per the schedule, Pakistan were to arrive late evening on Wednesday and fly out to Dharamsala on March 17 but if the match is shifted they will remain here till March 20 before heading to Mohali where they face New Zealand on March 22.
After a recce of Dharamsala, the PCB were reluctant to play there citing security concerns.
“The Himachal Pradesh chief minister has not committed full security for the match and the Indian government has also not come up with any assuring statement… Under the prevailing circumstances how can we allow our team to play there?” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Tuesday.