Pakistan’s cricket team for January’s Asia Cup for the blind has pulled out from the tournament to be hosted in India. The Pakistanis are worried about the security threat to their players, it is learnt.
Pakistan have already expressed security concerns after Shiv Sena activists stormed the Board of Control for Cricket in India offices in Mumbai on Monday and stopped a meeting between the big bosses of the two cricket Boards.
Syed Sultan Shah, chairman of the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council and president of the World Blind Cricket Council told NDTV, “The decision to pull out of the January games has been taken in the wake of the current sentiment pertaining to Pakistan and Pakistanis across the border.”
He further added, “The management needs to ensure the safety and security of the team.”
India and Pakistan’s cricketing relationship has taken a big hit. December’s bilateral series has been almost consigned to the backburners after the BCCI was unable to confirm the matches due to the complex political relationship between the neighbouring nations.
On Tuesday, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shahryar Khan expressed his disappointment in New Delhi after BCCI officials failed to agree to the December series. The PCB is under severe pressure to review its relationship with BCCI.
Pakistan could even adopt a hardline stand given the fact that India are sure to cancel any bilateral cricket in the near future. Next year’s World Twenty20 in India could even see a Pakistani boycott.
The International Cricket Council is also concerned with the developments. Following the Shiv Sena attack in Mumbai, ICC withdrew Pakistani neutral umpire Aleem Dar from the fifth ODI at Wankhede Stadiumscheduled on Sunday.
Host broadcasters STAR Sports have also pulled out Pakistani commentators – Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar.