Political agenda creating hindrance in Indo-Pak match: HPCA

Dharamsala: The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) on Wednesday alleged that the state government was creating hindrance in the much-awaited India-Pakistan World T20 in Dharamsala for their political agenda.

HPCA spokesperson Sanjay Sharma, however, revealed that the Pakistani security team which visited India to ensure security measures for their players looked quite satisfied with the arrangements.

“Two days back, Pakistan security team came here to know about all the security arrangements. They have assessed the venue, players’ staying place and on route security. They discussed about these all plans with us and they were satisfied. But state government is creating hindrance for their political agenda,” he told ANI here.

Sharma urged those protesting against the Dharamsala match to know the difference between terrorists and players.

“The spectators of Himachal Pradesh want this match to take place. The people, who are coming from Pakistan, are players and we have to differentiate between players and terrorists. We cannot take this issue like this that everyone coming from Pakistan is terrorist,” said Sharma.

“We are hopeful that the match would go ahead without shifting the venue and without any inconvenience from the PCB,” he insisted.

The HPCA spokesperson further said that Pakistan should think over the matter wisely, keeping in mind the difficulties that the ICC and the BCCI would face in making last minute changes to the venue.

Sharma also assured safety for the Pakistani players visiting the state.

“The police force of Himachal Pradesh is capable of providing full-proof security to the spectators as well as to the players. And they could hold the match without any inconvenience,” he said.

A two-member PCB security delegation, comprising senior director of the Federal Investigation Agency Usman Anwar and Col. Azam from the Ministry of Interior, arrived in India on Monday to assess the situation ahead of the Dharamsala T20 on March 19.

Earlier, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had expressed his aversion to the Indo-Pak match in his state.

“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,” he said.

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.

Citing security concerns, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had earlier delayed the departure of the women and men’s national cricket team to India for the World T20. (ANI)