Women's Cricket World Cup Could Face Relocation Following Indo-Pak Border Tension
Pakistan Cricket Board Chair Zaka Ashraf has suggested moving the Women's World Cup from Mumbai, India to South Africa, following "simmering tensions on the Indo-Pak border,", according to the PTI. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has sought the Int'l Cricket Council's help "in taking a final call on whether to stick to the original venue" or change it to avoid security problems. Ashraf said, "Women's World Cup is an ICC event and if the security is not good enough in India, then the world governing body should consider shifting it to a neutral venue like South Africa or somewhere." Asked if he is keen for a change in venue, Ashraf said: "I am not saying that. The first option should be India, but if the BCCI is unable to host it then I am saying the second option could be South Africa" (PTI, 1/16). In Mumbai, Indranil Basu noted the BCCI "made it clear" to the ICC that is is "very keen to host the event in India." A top BCCI official said, "It's a prestigious event, and we would like to host it." It "will be a tough decision to make," as the ICC will "struggle to shift the venue to some other country at such a short notice." A source said, "Under the current situation, India hosting Pakistan looks very unlikely." The source added that Shiv Sena political party chief Uddhav Thackeray called up Indian Premier League Chair Rajeev Shukla "and told him that his party would not allow the Pakistan women's team to play in Mumbai" (TIMES OF INDIA, 1/16).
LOCAL VIEWS: The PTI noted the Mumbai Cricket Association and local police authorities suggested to the ICC that it would be better if matches involving Pakistan in the women's tournament "are shifted out of the city." An MCA official said, "It was told [to ICC representative] that adequate security could be provided to the women cricketers. But the public feeling on the issue was also conveyed, and it was mentioned in the current scenario that it would be difficult to stop political parties [from protesting against Pakistan women's team] if the matches are held here." Another MCA official said that there is "specific threat of disruption of the matches from the Shiv Sena" (PTI, 1/16). The PTI reported the Gujarat Cricket Association "has refused to host" the upcoming Women's World Cup, after the "skeptical" BCCI approached it with a "verbal" proposal to host the tournament in its city of Ahmedabad. Rising tension at the Line of Control, after Pakistan's violation of the ceasefire and the killing of Indian soliders, has led to protests by Shiv Sena in Mumbai against the Pakistani players' participation in the ongoing Hockey India League, "prompting all the franchisees to send back their Pakistani recruits" (PTI, 1/16).