Imagine the India vs Pakistan match in the World T20, which the former will be hosting, being played in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. Well, that is a possibility, if the Pakistan Cricket Board fail to get clearance from their government over travelling to India for the T20 World Cup, which will be held between March and April.
With an India vs Pakistan bilateral series falling by the wayside, after the Indian government failed to give clearance, there is a possibility that the clearance issue could crop up again. Pakistan will have to travel to India for the World T20, and depending on how far they go, they could be in the country for a month.
That requires several security protocols to be followed, and PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan insisted the final call regarding travel to India would be made by the Pakistan government.
"We have told the ICC now and before as well, the decision [to travel to India for the World T20] is with the government and it will consider if there is a specific Pakistan-oriented security threat," AFP quoted Khan as telling reporters.
Khan said if the government does not give the PCB clearance to travel to India for the World T20, there is a possibility that Pakistan's matches could be played at a neutral venue. What "neutral venue" means, is quite unclear, though.
"Someone in the ICC meeting [held in Dubai last week] said that if there are doubts over extremists [in Pakistan matches] we are ready to play at neutral venues in case our government does not give the permission to tour India," Khan added.
It is hard to understand how that would work, considering this is a tournament being hosted by just one country. The neutral venue could be one of Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, but with the World T20 only a month away, the logistical and organisational problems that would create would be quite huge.
Following India's refusal to play Pakistan in a bilateral series, the latter had threatened to pull out of the World T20, but considering the only team that decision will hurt are Pakistan themselves, that seems unlikely.
The likely scenario remains Pakistan travelling to India after ensuring there is enough security cover in place. The BCCI have also ensured Pakistan will not play any of their World T20 matches in sensitive venues.