17 March 2019 last updated at 11:47 GMT
 
ICC reject India plea as Pakistan tensions escalate
Tuesday 05 March 2019

The BCCI sent the request to the ICC via letter after 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed in a terror attack in Pulwama last month. Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack in Kashmir.

It’s understood ICC chairman Shashank Manohar dismissed the BCCI’s request during a quarterly board meeting on Saturday, saying it would not be appropriate for the governing body to make such a decision, The Times of India reported.

“There was no chance that anything like that would have happened,” an unnamed BCCI official told the publication.

“The ICC chairman made it clear that the decision to ostracise a nation is taken at government level and ICC had no rule. The BCCI knew it all along but still took a chance.”

The BCCI’s letter did not explicitly name Pakistan as a nation it wished member countries to sever ties with.

India and Pakistan are therefore still on track to play each other in Manchester on June 16 for a World Cup group stage match. That is despite Indian legends Harbhajan Singh and Sourav Ganguly calling for India to boycott the showdown.

“India should not play Pakistan in the World Cup. India are powerful enough to win the World Cup without having to play Pakistan,” Harbhajan told news station Aaj Tak last month.

 “When it comes to cricket, I don’t think we should have any relations with them otherwise they will keep treating us like this.”

India skipper Virat Kohli refused to rule out boycotting arguably the tournament’s biggest fixture, saying the team would stand by any BCCI or government decision.

“We stick by what the nation wants to do and what the BCCI decides to do,” he said. “Whatever the government and the board decide.

“We’re really shocked about what happened. We’re really sad.”

The terror attack has been met with displays of military strength from India and Pakistan - both nuclear powers - as tensions between the two nations rise once again.

India carried out air strikes in response to the Pulwama attack, which led to Pakistan shooting down an Indian fighter jet over Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The plane’s pilot was captured but then released to Indian officials in what Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said was a “peace gesture”.

Pakistan denies any involvement in the Pulwama attack.

The rising tensions led to the Pakistan Cricket Board moving three PSL matches from Lahore to Karachi on Sunday.

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said the decision was made “following the delayed opening of the Lahore airspace for commercial flights which has created substantial operational and logistical challenges.”

“Due to the recent and prevailing uncertainty, we felt it critical to make a decisive decision at this juncture,” Mani said in a statement.

“Ensuring all the matches are played in Pakistan falls in line with our vision to take all eight matches of the PSL to the people of Pakistan.”

The ICC has assured its members of a tight security plan for this year’s World Cup in England after the BCCI sought guarantees from the governing body in its letter.

“As you would expect for a global sporting event, the ICC, in partnership with the ECB, has a robust security plan in place for the men’s Cricket World Cup,” ICC chief executive David Richardson said after the board meeting in Dubai.

“We work closely with the authorities in our host countries to ensure that the safety of players, officials and fans is a priority.”

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