If the Pakistan cricket team fails to play in the World T20 tournament, scheduled in India for March this year, it could face legal action, International Cricket Council (ICC) sources have said to Mail Today.
The ICC believes that the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) security concerns are baseless, and that the security arrangements made by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are satisfactory.
The issue arose when Shaharyar Khan, chairman of the PCB, said it might become necessary to ask the ICC to host the matches at a neutral venue if the Pakistan government does not give the team security clearance to play in India.
In response, an ICC official said that if more than 100 athletes from Pakistan could travel to India to participate in the South Asian Games, there should be no reason why 20 cricketers cannot play in India.
"Are they trying to say that the security threat is cricket-specific? This isn't a bilateral series and personal issues have no place in an ICC event," he said. "The question of a neutral venue would come in if we felt that the BCCI lacked the capability to protect Pakistani players. There is no need for a neutral venue."
The ICC official said that the PCB is contracted with the ICC and can face legal action if the team does not arrive for the event. "The World T20 is an ICC event. So there will be legal ramifications if the Pakistan Board withdraws from the tournament," he said.