India-Pakistan World T20 match shifted to Kolkata

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New Delhi, March 9: The high-voltage World Twenty20 match between India and Pakistan has been shifted from Dharamsala to Kolkata, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed today (March 9).

World T20 Special Site; Photos

With Pakistan refusing to play at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala due to security concerns, ICC on Wednesday decided to move the game, on March 19, to Kolkata's iconic Eden Gardens ground. The stadium will also host the final on April 3.

A file picture of Kolkata's Eden Gardens

Announcing the decision, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: "The decision has been taken following consultation with the BCCI, the relevant state associations, the ICC and BCCI security consultant and other relevant authorities.

"The decision to relocate the match has been made for security reasons. The concerns initially arose following alleged public comments recently reported by the Chief Minister of Hamachal Pradesh, warning of demonstration and attempts to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the match."

He continued, "Our concerns relate both to uncertainty as to the level of those threats as well as the level of commitment to implement any security plan developed to mitigate such treats.

"The decision was not taken lightly. The ICC and the BCCI understand the disappointment that is likely to be felt by many over the decision to move the match. But the safety and security of the event is of paramount importance to the ICC and we have taken into consideration the concerns shared with us by our security advisors as well as Pakistan Cricket Board.

"As far as those who have purchased tickets online for the match, they will be offered the choice of a full refund or the opportunity to exchange their tickets for ones for the Kolkata match.

"Finally, I would like to confirm that the ICC has been assured by all relevant state authorities that all adequate security measure are in place and will be implemented to ensure that the event is staged in a safe and secure environment for all stakeholders."

Shahid Afridi-led Pakistan team was held back from travelling to India on Tuesday night (March 8) on security issues. (Pakistan should not play in Dharamsala: Imran Khan)

"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?" Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan said yesterday after their security team visited the venue.

Earlier today, a BCCI official had hinted that Kolkata was the most likely venue to host the big clash and now ICC has confirmed.

"Yes Eden Gardens is likely to host the India-Pakistan match on the 19th. One of the reason's being Eden has not got any match with India playing in it and then Pakistan will be staying in Kolkata. So Eden can be a likely venue," a BCCI official told "IANS" news agency.

"For every team we will be able to provide the security needed," Kolkata Police's Deputy Commissioner, headquarters, Suprotim Sarkar had said.

As per the ICC schedule, Pakistan will be flying into the city on Wednesday night where they will play two warm-up games (against Bengal on March 12 and Sri Lanka on March 14) and one in the main round against a "yet to be decided" opponent on March 16.

World T20 began yesterday (March 8) in Nagpur with the first round (qualifiers). The main round (Super 10) begins on March 15.

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