National team to travel to India after New Delhi assures Islamabad of security measures.
Pakistan on Friday announced it would send its national cricket team to India for the World Twenty20 following security assurances from New Delhi after months of uncertainty.
The interior minister “Chaudhry Nisar [Ali Khan] has given permission to Pakistan’s team to play in India,” Najam Sethi, a senior Pakistan Cricket Board official, told reporters after a meeting with the minister. The Pakistan team had been due to fly out on Wednesday to play in the tournament but their departure was put on hold by the government, citing the threat posed by Hindu extremists.
Pakistan is set to play its first match at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on March 16 against a qualifier team, followed by a clash against India at the same venue three days later.
On Thursday, the interior minister had ruled out sending the team until special assurances were met from India. Sethi said the assurances had now been made.
“We received communication from the ICC [International Cricket Council] and BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India]. We received a letter from the chief minister of Bengal and the police chief,” he said. “An hour ago our High Commissioner Abdul Basit met the Indian secretary and the assurances were given.”
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. They have not played a full series since 2007, although Pakistan did tour India late in 2012 for a short limited-over series that failed to revive the ties fully.