You can replace Pak players, HIL tells teams; women’s cricket Cup takes a hit


Faced with increasing political pressure, Hockey India League (HIL) has given franchises the option of replacing the nine Pakistani players participating in the tournament. Mumbai Magicians were learnt to have decided to send back their four players, while three other teams were weighing their options on Tuesday.

Indo-Pak sporting ties took a second hit after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suggested to the International Cricket Council (ICC) that considering the prevailing situation, Pakistan should be kept out of the Women's Cricket World Cup, scheduled to begin on January 31 in Mumbai.

The Shiv Sena had disrupted a training session of the Mumbai team on Sunday, protesting the participation of Pakistani players in the HIL.

According to sources, Arun Jaitley and Rajiv Shukla, both of whom hold powerful positions in the BCCI and the HIL, spoke to Uddhav Thackeray by phone, but the Sena leader remained firm that no Pakistani player could be allowed to play in Mumbai.

By afternoon, the message was conveyed to BCCI chief N Srinivasan, who passed it on to the ICC. "We have informed the ICC... They will have to examine and take a view," Srinivasan said.

In the evening, ESPNcricinfo reported that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had written to the ICC, asking it to take responsibility for the Pakistan squad's security. "We have written to the ICC asking it to ensure the Pakistan team get foolproof security after the hockey incidents," PCB spokesperson Nadeem Sarwar said. "The PCB has also requested if the organisers could shift the venue for the Pakistan matches."

The BCCI had indeed considered shifting Pakistan's matches from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. However, Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) honorary secretary Rajesh Patel told The Indian Express that they were not interested.

"We haven't got any formal request from the BCCI or ICC but if the request comes, we will not accept it. We don't want Pakistan's women's team here in Ahmedabad. Looking at the current scenario in the country, we don't want to have a Pakistan game here," Patel said.

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