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ICC Women’s World Cup 2013: Zaka Ashraf says security fears in India affected Pakistan’s performance

ICC Women's World Cup 2013: Zaka Ashraf says security fears in India affected Pakistan's performance

Zaka Ashraf expressed disappointment over shifting of venue from Mumbai to Cuttack for the World Cup © AFP

Islamabad: Feb 8, 2013

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Zaka Ashraf on Friday claimed that its women’s cricket team finished last in the World Cup due to the “overwhelming security fears” in India which led to their matches being shifted from Mumbai to Cuttack.

Pakistan women’s team matches were shifted to Cuutack after threats from the Shiv Sena and Ashraf levelled allegations to the extent of hotels “refusing to provide security” to their cricketers.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to house Pakistan at the club house of the Barabati stadium instead of a hotel for security reasons.

“The situation was uncertain for the women’s team and players were overwhelmed by fears as no hotel was willing to give them security,” Ashraf stated after talks with Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Pakistan team manager Ayesha Ashar had earlier said that the squad was happy with the arrangements made at the Barabati stadium.

But Malik said he would raise the issue with New Delhi.

“Not giving security to our women’s team is a concern and I will raise this issue with the Indian government,” Malik said.

Ashraf however rubbished speculations that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will have to move abroad to a neutral venue over security fears.

“In all probability, the league will be held in Pakistan and the interior ministry has assured the best security for the foreign players,” he said

No international cricket has been played in Pakistan since terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009, killing eight Pakistanis and wounding seven visiting players.

Minnows Bangladesh twice called off tours last year over security fears and the head of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) has warned players not to take part in the inaugural Twenty20 tournament in March.

The PCB claimed last week that around 50 overseas players had signed for the two-week league due to start from March 26.

“A lot of top players are willing to take part in the league but some boards have reservations which we are trying to remove,” said Ashraf.

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