Islamabad: The Pakistan government on Friday formally decided to send its national men's and women's cricket teams to India to take part in the ongoing World T20 tournament, ending the drama over Pakistan's participation in the premier ICC event amid security concerns.
The national cricket teams are scheduled to fly out to India on Friday night, Geo TV quoted sources in Islamabad as saying.
The decision came after Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Pakistan cricket team will be provided adequate security during their World Twenty20 campaign in India.
The drawn-out saga over the India-Pakistan amid rising tensions had almost become a game of 'will they? won't they?', even after a change in venue of the much-talked about March 19 clash between the arch-rivals.
Earlier in the day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had assured Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Sourav Ganguly that the state government would take necessary security measures for the India-Pakistan World T20 match on 19 March.
In a letter, Banerjee assured the CAB about providing security for the tie and asked Ganguly to convey her message to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
"After the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh wrote a letter to union Home Minister Rajnath Singh against hosting the match in Dharamsala, there were two venues which were being actively looked at as alternatives - Cuttack and Kolkata," officials said on Thursday.
"A senior minister closely associated with cricket passed on this message to the state government and the Bengal chief minister was quick to respond."
On Wednesday, when the high-voltage clash was shifted from Dharamsala to Kolkata citing security concerns, Banerjee had tweeted,"We are very very happy to host India-Pakistan match in Kolkata. All are always welcome to our beautiful city."
The Pakistan government had demanded a written assurance from India on providing foolproof security to Pakistan players after protests by serving and retired soldiers of the Indian Army and political leaders in Himachal Pradesh forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to shift the group match against hosts India from Dharamsala to Kolkata.
Pakistan had on Thursday said it would not send the team to India until the Indian government gave out a written assurance for providing complete security to the Pakistan team to deal with Pakistan specific threats in India.
A source told PTI that the logistics department of the PCB was already making preparations to get the team on a flight to either New Delhi or Kolkata by Friday evening or night.
"The logistics department is in touch with the ICC and coordinating travel plans with them," he said.
The men's and women's players in Lahore and Karachi have also been told to be ready for a quick departure.
Shaharyar also told the media that if Pakistan didn't go to India for the World T20 it could incur losses of around USD 15 million, which was a big amount at this time.
The ICC has already shifted the Indo-Pak match on 19 March to Kolkata from Dharamsala due to security concerns.
With agency inputs