Pakistan get government nod to play World T20

Lahore, Feb 25 (IANS) The Pakistan government on Thursday gave permission to the country’s cricket team to participate in the World Twenty20 championship which is scheduled to start in India next month.

“I am pleased that the government has given its consent for our team to visit India,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who is currently in Dhaka for the Asia Cup, was quoted as saying by News International.

“The PCB had asked ICC to put in place special arrangements for the Pakistan cricket team. We will also be expecting visa facilitation and other arrangements for the Pakistani fans wishing to visit India for WC T20,” he added.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had sought permission from the government to play World T20 matches in India earlier this month. The PCB had also requested the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) to stage Pakistan matches in a neutral venue in view of security concerns around the team. But the request was denied by the game’s world governing body.

Pakistan will start their World T20 campaign with a qualifier on March 16 in Kolkata before facing hosts and arch-rivals India at Dharamsala on March 19.

Cricketing relations between India and Pakistan have been disrupted due to a series of violent incidents on the border.

The PCB was due to host India in a series originally scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last December. The series, which was originally supposed to include two Tests, five one-dayers and two Twenty20s, was eventually called off.

The PCB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014, agreeing to play six bilateral series from 2015 to 2023.

According to the ICC’s provisional Future Tour Programme (FTP), the two countries are scheduled to play a total of 12 Tests, 30 one-dayers and 11 Twenty20s over the six series.

Pakistan last toured India in late 2012 for a short one-day series. Apart from that tour, the two countries have only played against each other in ICC or Asian Cricket Council (ACC) events.

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