The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to reject invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the final of the 2019 HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) final that will be held in Karachi on March 17.
The PCB had sent invitations to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the heads of governing body for cricket at other nations, including India. The PCB wanted to invite them for the final of the domestic T20 league.
The BCCI has turned down the invitation in the aftermath of the terror attack in Pulwama in February. In the last three weeks, there has been a growing tension between the two nations, especially across the borders. The ICC chairman Shashank Manohar in Indian and he has joined hands with the BCCI acting president CK Khanna and have decided not to attend the final of the 2019 PSL. This has been confirmed by PCB chairman Ehsan Mani.
"Both Khanna and Manohar have refused to visit Pakistan to watch the final of the tournament citing personal engagements," said Ehsan Mani, as reported by the Times of India.
"The idea behind sending the invitations is that when they come and see for themselves the arrangements for the final it will change the perception of people around the world about security in Pakistan and convince them it is safe to play international cricket in Pakistan," Mani added.
The eight matches including the play off and the final will be held in Pakistan. As per the earlier plan, three matches were supposed to take place in Lahore and the remaining five in Karachi, including the final. However, due to the closure of the airspace in Lahore, all eight matches that is supposed to be played in Pakistan has been moved to Karachi.
Ehsan Mani said it was a tough and difficult decision to make the changes last minute.
"This has been a difficult and tough decision, which has been taken following discussion and consultation with all the franchisees and service providers to ensure certainty and clarity on the event as well as delivery of the remaining matches as per the PCB's own very high standards," Ehsan Mani told PCB's official website.
"Due to the recent and prevailing uncertainty, we felt it critical to make a decisive decision at this juncture. Ensuring all matches are played in Pakistan falls in line with our vision to take all eight matches of the HBL PSL 2019 matches to the people of Pakistan.
"We had considered the option of shifting the dates of the eight matches in Pakistan, but because the Pakistan cricket team has to leave for the UAE on 19 March for the ODI series against Australia, this was not possible. We also looked at swapping matches between Lahore and Karachi, but paucity of time would have rendered this option unworkable.
"It is unfortunate that the headquarters of Pakistan cricket will be unable to host the PSL matches in 2019 due to no fault of the PCB, but this is a small sacrifice for a bigger and larger national cause.
"We have spoken with the franchisees, who have backed this decision and have reinforced that all their foreign players will feature in the last eight matches of what has been an outstanding and highly competitive tournament that has been thoroughly enjoyed by the fans and the players.
"The PCB appreciates and applauds the support of the franchisees as well as the players, who understand that the evolving situation has forced us to make these amendments to the event schedule."