Mumbai: The Indian cricket board has finalised Pakistan’s five-match upcoming tour to India — December 22 to January 7 — and sent the itinerary to home and external affairs ministries besides and youth affairs and sports ministry for approval.
The two Twenty20 Internationals will be played in Bangalore and Ahmedabad on December 25 and 27 while Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata will host the One-day Internationals on December 30, January 3 and 6.
MAIL TODAY had first reported on May 19 that the India-Pakistan series was “imminently possible” sometime “soon”, according to BCCI president N Srinivasan.
Since then Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Muhammad Zaka Ashraf has toured India on Srinivasan’s invitation to watch the IPL final in May and the two struck an instant rapport.
Mumbai, as usual, does not figure as the Shiva Sena threat to not allow the Pakistani team to play not just in Mumbai but anywhere in India due to its stand over the neighbour’s role in terror activities.
Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP and editor of the party mouthpiece Saamna, said on Wednesday that Pakistan would not be allowed to play in Mumbai.
“Our stand has been made clear by Balasaab [Bal Thackeray] that we’ll not allow Pakistan to play cricket anywhere in India. Not just in Maharashtra, but anywhere in India, and it’s certain that they cannot play cricket in Mumbai,” he told MAIL TODAY. In 1991, Shiv Sena activists led by Shishir Shinde dug up the pitch at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium to protest the series between India and Pakistan, and in 1999 some party members dug up the pitch at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla where India and Pakistan were scheduled to play a Test. The match was swapped with Chennai and played later.
Shinde is now in Raj Thackeray’s MNS, which he formed after he split with his uncle. However, they are united on their stand on cricket relations with Pakistan, even though the BCCI has not allotted a match to Mumbai.
A BCCI official hoped the government would provide security cover for the matches against Pakistan.
“We’ve seen trouble in the past with the political activists physically damaging the properties [read BCCI headquarters in Mumbai] and grounds. We don’t want any trouble and so we’re not scheduling any matches in Mumbai. We’re confident that the government will provide adequate security at other venues to avoid any trouble,” he said.
The Shiv Sena warning extends to the inclusion of Pakistani players even in the next IPL season.