Shimla: Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) honorary secretary Anurag Thakur has said he was ready to step down from Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association’s (HPCA’s) top post if “he was the roadblock” in seeing the India-Pak cricket tie happen.
The World T20 match between and India and Pakistan is slated for March 19 at Dharamshala and the state government, some ex-servicemen’s bodies and Kangra MP Shanta Kumar are against it.
Anurag, who was speaking on the sidelines of an event here, said after Pathankot terror attack, South Asian Games were held in Congress-ruled Assam and no one opposed the participation of Pakisan. “We should rise above politics in the interest of Himachal as well as the country. If the opposition is because of me, I am willing to step down from HPCA post right now,’ Anurag said.
“It is a world event not a bilateral series. I will request one and all with folded hands that the event is in the interest of Himachal Pradesh and don’t oppose it,” he added.
“If they (Congress leaders) are against the HPCA, they should forget it for some time. Court cases are pending, inquiries are pending; I am ready to step down, but please don’t let Himachal suffer,” he said, adding, “Himachal can be blacklisted for hosting any match in future, in case there is need for cancellation of the fixture.”
He said he has sought an appointment from chief minister Virbhadra Singh to convince him how important the event is for the state.
Earlier, Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh had said that the organizers would be going ahead with the match at their own risk. He said one should not vindicate the stand of Pakistan, which had stated that their team might not be secure in India and wanted to play outside India. But ICC categorically said Indian government had assured to provide full security. “Are we trying to vindicate Pakistan’s stand. It’s going to be big face loss for the state and country if the match is cancelled,” Anurag said.
“Ministry of home affairs has said the Himachal government should ask for security personnel, if neede, instead of saying demanding cancellation of the match,” he added. “Are we incapable of providing security to a foreign team? If there is demand for more than 5,000 tickets, we can’t say people are against the tie,” he said.
Recalling the Kargil war, Anurag said Himachal had lost 52 soldiers at that time. “Those who are opposing the match now had been clicking photos with Pakistani cricketers after the Kargil war,” he said.
“Himachal stands for hospitality, not Hostility. We should not be hostile,” he said.