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BCCI will provide security to Pak team during World Cup, believes Maninder Singh
After Pakistan athletes were shown the exit doors from the Hockey India League, the reports are pouring in that the country's women's cricket team, which is scheduled to participate in the Women's World Cup to be played in Mumbai from Jan 31, might be asked to give the tournament a miss.

THE DECISION to send Pak athletes back home was understandable in view of pressure built on the government by protests organized by right-wing parties like Shiv Sena. But when it comes to the Women’s World Cup, asking Pak cricketers to stay away, who look forward to such events, seems like an unfair decision.

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It is time that ICC sets right its policies and priorities and stop what seems like a partial decision on the part of India by deciding to go ahead with the tournament sans Pak players.

The unfortunate incidents at the Line of Control led to anger among many Indians and voices were raised to stop all ties with Pakistan and in this backdrop Shiv Sena protested against the presence of Pak athletes in Hockey India League.

Since the ICC Women’s World Cup is scheduled to be played in Mumbai – the stronghold of Shiv Sena – the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is reportedly planning to ask its counterparts across the border not to send the Pak contingent to India – in view of the deteriorating security scenario.

But the question is if India can’t provide security to Pakistan players in Mumbai it should change the venue to other states. Letting the tournament to take off without the presence of any team looks a grossly partisan decision. “It is a world cup and all the teams should be given full opportunity to play in the tournament. If shifting the venues helps, why not?” asks Maninder Singh, a former cricketer.

Eight teams - England, India, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa - are participating in the championship. The ICC is expected to conduct a meeting later today to come to a conclusion, which must be a win-win situation for both the BCCI and the Pakistan team. The BCCI is said to have already informed the ICC about the present risky matters in Mumbai and have suggested the venue to be shifted to some other cities. Ahmedabad is one of the strong contenders to host the matches, if Mumbai fails.

If India is ready to host a competition of such a scale, it should be prepared to deal with all kinds of situations. Singh adds, “BCCI must have some model in place, so they might have suggested shifting venues. So, I think, they will provide security to the Pakistan team during the World Cup.”

Madhavrao Apte, former Indian cricketer echoes the same view as Singh. “As a sportsperson, I would like all teams to participate (in the tournament).” But he believes that for Pakistan to play in Mumbai would be tricky. “It is something, which the government should look after. I think Pakistan playing in Mumbai is tricky due to the present conditions. But, I do not like politics to enter into sports.”

He believes it is not just the BCCI but also the government of India that will decide whether Pakistan should play any matches in Mumbai. “My guess is that even if the BCCI wants Mumbai to host Pakistan, they need the government's nod, as the security is in the hands of the Indian government. Ultimately, the BCCI can't ignore the government's point of view.”

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