The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been in consultation with the state government of Maharashtra to keep Pakistan away from playing in Mumbai and Nagpur during the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 to be held in India.
Top officials in BCCI fear that right-wing party Shiv Sena might cause trouble in relation to law and order in Maharashtra on account of Pakistan playing matches in the state, a report published in The Indian Express said.
Maharashtra’s two Test venues, one in Nagpur and the other in Mumbai, were selected to host the T20 matches, along with Kolkata, Dharamsala, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mohali.
“BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur spoke to government bodies in Maharashtra and they have advised us to not have any Pakistan games as political parties might create some protest and there could be law and order situation in the state. We don’t know what the situation will be between both countries by next year but we don’t want to take any risk,” a top BCCI official told The Indian Express.
Thakur is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament. The BJP, often labelled as a “Hindu revivalist” party, is also in power in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena has always taken an extreme stand against the participation of Pakistani players in games hosted in the state of Maharashtra, where it enjoys sizeable support as compared to the rest of India.
Earlier in July, it protested against the participation of Pakistan’s kabaddi players in league matches. As a result, the two Pakistani players — who signed up to play a professional kabbadi league in India — were benched from the matches being held in Mumbai and Pune.
Last year too, three Pakistani kabaddi players participating in the inaugural season of the league were kept away from matches in the state by their teams on account of the threat against them.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has not yet announced the final draws for the World T20, but The Indian Express said in its report that India might play with Pakistan and West Indies in the same group.
In case of an India-Pakistan encounter, Chennai or Mohali would most likely be the host, the report said.
“We will ensure that Pakistan will not have to play any games in Mumbai or Nagpur. As the World T20 final is scheduled to take place at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, there won't be any problems in Bengal,” the report quoted BCCI sources as saying.