LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket team left for India via Abu Dhabi on early Saturday morning to participate in the World Twenty20. The Green Shirts will reach Kolkata in the evening.
Pakistan on Friday announced it would send its national cricket team to India for the World Twenty20 following security assurances from New Delhi, ending months of uncertainty.
The interior minister “Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has given permission to Pakistan team to play in India,” Najam Sethi, a senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official, told reporters after a meeting with the minister.
The Pakistan team had been due to fly out on Wednesday but the government put their departure on hold, citing the threat posed by Hindu extremists who disrupted a meeting between the heads of the two cricket boards held in India last year.
On Thursday, Interior Minister Khan ruled out sending the team until special assurances were met from India.
Sethi said the government had now given its go-ahead.
“We received communication from the ICC (International Cricket Council) and BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). We received a letter from the Chief Minister of Bengal and the police chief,” he said.
“An hour ago our High Commissioner Abdul Basit met the Indian Secretary and the assurances were given.”
Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in a practice match in Kolkata on Monday.
Their first match of the tournament will be held at Eden Gardens on March 16 against a qualifier team, followed by a clash against arch-rival India at the same venue on March 19.
They will then take on New Zealand (March 22) and Australia (March 25) in their remaining Group B matches both in Mohali.
The top two teams from each of the two pools will qualify for the semi-finals.
Pakistan squad: Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Sami, Khalid Latif, Ahmed Shehzad.