Pakistan cricket chief Shaharyar Khan left without meeting his Indian counterpart Shashank Manohar, after Sena workers stormed into the BCCI headquarters shouting anti-Pakistan slogans
After preventing Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali from performing in the city, the Shiv Sena turned its gaze on cricket. Protesting against a revival of cricketing ties with Pakistan, Sena workers stormed into the headquarters of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), disrupting talks between Indian cricket chief Shashank Manohar and Pakistan Cricket Board head Shaharyar Khan.
BCCI chief Shashank Manohar emerges from the Cricket Centre, where security had been beefed up following the protest by Sena. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Cricketing ties between the two nations have slowed down in the past couple of years. While the two teams faced each other in February for the ICC World Cup, the last time India hosted Pakistan for a bilateral series was from December 2012 to January 2013.
A TV grab of Sena workers who barged into Manohar’s cabin yesterday, shouting anti-Pakistan slogans. Pic/PTI
The drama began at 10.30 am yesterday as soon as Manohar reached the Cricket Centre. Shiv Sainiks barged into his cabin. They did not vandalise the office, but shouted slogans such as ‘Shaharyar Khan go back’. Upset with the scenario, the PCB chief and chief executive Najam Sethi left for New Delhi.
There were only two constables, a guard and a few security officers at the headquarters, who were not able to prevent the mob of 40-odd protestors from barging in.
The police arrived at the Wankhede Stadium office in a while, but managed to catch only a handful of them. Following the protest, security had been beefed up at the BCCI office and the Trident Hotel, where PCB chief Shaharyar was put up.
Meeting in Delhi?
While IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla confirmed to PTI that there would be a meeting with the PCB chief in New Delhi, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur told reporters in the Capital, “No meeting is scheduled. Any meeting with PCB will happen only at BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.” However, a BCCI official said that the meeting had been called off altogether.
“Shaharyar is flying to Pakistan on Tuesday from Delhi. There is no meeting scheduled,” he said last evening. Another official played down the meeting, saying Shaharyar wanted to pay a courtesy visit to the new BCCI president. “Remember, he had also gone to meet Jagmohan Dalmiya in Kolkata earlier this year, and was also present for his condolence meeting last month.”
No Indo-Pak series for now: Thakur
New Delhi: BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur (in pic) yesterday virtually ruled out the possibility of an early resumption of an Indo-Pak bilateral cricket series even as he strongly condemned the Shiv Sena protests inside the Board headquarters in Mumbai.
“First of all I condemn this attack. You can't barge into BCCI premises and force people not to hold talks with the PCB chairman. I think BCCI President is competent enough to discuss the matter with the PCB chairman but the final call is always taken after discussing with the union government. In a democracy you can protest, but on the streets. Raise your voice but you can't barge into someone's home, office, headquarters, I think that was not fair," Thakur said.
“Talks will happen between the two nations and only then the Boards will be able to decide. The two governments will have to start talking at one level. If you talk about the December series, it will be very difficult for me to commit till we talk with the union government," he said.