Though the Gujarat Cricket Association expressed its unavailability to host the Pakistan women’s team during the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s World Cup, the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) made itself available on Wednesday.
The OCA chief executive officer Bidyut Nayak told HT, “After the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wrote to us asking if we could host the Pakistan team, we have expressed our willingness. However, it is subject to the government’s approval.”
On being asked about the security arrangements that will be provided to the Pakistan team in Cuttack, Nayak said, “That will come at a latter stage. As of now we have just made the two stadiums (Barabati stadium & DRIEMS) available.”
However the BCCI claimed that the final call rests with the ICC, since it is their event. “We cannot speculate anything about the venues. The ICC will have to decide. You must ask OCA, how they have agreed to host the games,” BCCI chief administrative officer Prof Ratnakar Shetty told HT. While the entire World Cup is to be held in Mumbai, Pakistan were slated to play their league games at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground.
However, a threat from Shiv Sena to disrupt Pakistan’s games forced the BCCI to write to the ICC to decide on further action.
While OCA has expressed its desire to host all matches in Group B, which includes Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, it remains to be seen if Pakistan participate in the tournament at all.
One of the officials involved with organising the tournament said, “As of now Pakistan will not be coming, we are looking at Bangladesh as a replacement.”
The tournament director Suru Nayak attended a meeting, with some of Mumbai’s top policemen and a few of the Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA’s) officials on Wednesday, with regards to the security concerns surrounding the Pakistan team.
On being asked about the current state of Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup that commences on January 28, Nayak said, “We cannot confirm anything till the ICC gets back. We are just waiting for it.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board chief Zaka Ashraf demanded that the tournament should be shifted to South Africa, if India could not provide adequate security.