India-Pakistan T20 shifted over security concerns

David Richardson (Gallo)
David Richardson (Gallo)

New Delhi - The Pakistan-India World Twenty20 cricket match has been switched away from the Indian northern hill town of Dharamsala after Pakistan expressed concerns over security, tournament organisers said Wednesday.

"The decision has been taken to relocate the India-Pakistan match from Dharamsala to Kolkata for security reasons," International Cricket Council Chief Executive David Richardson said.

"The bottom line is... security is paramount and it's a difficult decision, not one that we wanted to make because we wanted to stick with the original plan but one we've been forced into," Richardson told a press conference in New Delhi.

Pakistan had delayed their departure to India which is hosting the World T20 as they awaited security clearance from their country's government.

Pakistan sent a security assessment team to India on Monday after voicing repeated concerns about arrangements, saying there had been threats from Hindu activists.

The arch rivals had been due to play a high-voltage game on March 19 in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh state, where locals had objected to the staging of the match.

India-Pakistan showdowns usually draw hundreds of millions of television viewers, making it the biggest box office attraction in the sport.

Diplomatic tensions have meant that the two teams have not played any bilateral series for more than three years, and their rivalry is restricted to multi-national tournaments such as the World T20.

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