ICC yet to receive BCCI assurance on visa issuance to Pakistanis


LAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to receive the assurance from its Indian chapter regarding the exemption of the tax and issuance of the visas to all the participating countries for the T20 World Cup to be staged in India during October-November this year.

It may be mentioned here that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in February this year conveyed to the ICC that its team could participate in the World Cup only if the BCCI gave a written assurance on the issuance of visas and security to the Pakistan teams, as well as their fans and media personnel as the ties between the two neighbouring countries are not exemplary.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had set March 31, 2021 the deadline for the assurance, which has passed. The PCB in this regard had also warned if the BCCI did not give the assurance, the PCB would demand the ICC shift the mega event from India to the UAE.

“[The] Board received an update on the ongoing preparations around the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in India. This included an update from the BCCI on positive discussions with the Indian government around tax arrangements and visa guarantees. It is anticipated that both issues will be resolved over the next month,” an ICC press release issued after Thursday’s ICC Board and Committee meetings held virtually.

Last week, there was a media report that the BCCI had given the guarantee to the ICC about the issuance of visas to all the participating countries.

March 31 deadline set by PCB passes

It may be mentioned here that in the past the Indian government had refused visas to the Pakistani athletes for different international events, until the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took a strict decision of ordering all the countries not to award any international event to India unless its respective national sports body didn’t give assurance about visas to all the participants, players and officials. However, contrary to the IOC stance, the ICC has not yet shown such a strong stand to the BCCI.

Moreover, the ICC press release also stated that: “The Board agreed to postpone the inaugural 2021 ICC Women’s U-19 World Cup which was due to be held in Bangladesh at the end of the year. Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the establishment and subsequent development of the U-19 programmes in many countries and teams would not be able prepare appropriately for a global event later this year. As such, the inaugural event will now take place in January 2023.”

Similarly, to allow teams the best possible preparation, the global qualifier for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022, will also be postponed and will now be held in December 2021 instead of June-July in Sri Lanka.

“The ICC Board agreed to allow Members to take up to seven additional players and / or support staff to accompany the squad of 23 to ICC senior events where a period of quarantine is required and / or teams are accommodated in a bio-secure bubble.

“The ICC Board agreed to set up a Member Support Fund for Cricket with $5 million being made available in grants to support the playing of international cricket. The fund will be made available in form of a “co-payment” contribution with a maximum grant of 50% being available for Members upon application,” the ICC release added.

Moreover the the ICC Cricket Committee headed by former Indian captain Anil Kumble also considered the current issues in the international game, and presented its recommendations which were approved.

One of the issues discussed was the current approach to umpire’s call.

“The Cricket Committee had an excellent discussion around umpire’s call and analysed its use extensively. The principle underpinning DRS was to correct clear errors in the game whilst ensuring the role of the umpire as the decision maker on the field of play was preserved, bearing in mind the element of prediction involved with the technology. Umpire’s call allows that to happen, which is why it is important it remains,” Kumble said.

“In addition, three other changes to the DRS and third umpire protocols were approved. These are as follows:

“For LBW reviews, the height margin of the wicket zone will be lifted to the top of the stumps to ensure the same umpire’s call margin around the stumps for both height and width.

“A player will be able to ask the umpire whether a genuine attempt has been made to play the ball before deciding to review an LBW decision.

“The third umpire will check a replay of any short run that has been called and correct any error prior to the next ball being bowled,” added Kumble.