NEW DELHI: Former Pakistani fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, who are currently commentating in the ongoing India and South Africa ODI series, will return to Pakistan and won’t be available for the fifth and last match, according to reports.
The development comes in wake of security concerns after the International Cricket Council (ICC) were forced to withdraw umpire Aleem Dar from the remaining matches in the ongoing India versus South Africa series. The ICC made the decision following Monday’s incident in Mumbai where Shiv Sena activists stormed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters and threatened to prevent the umpire from standing in the fifth ODI on Sunday.
Aleem, a member of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, had officiated in the first three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and was also scheduled to umpire in the fourth and fifth ODIs in Chennai and Mumbai on 22 and 25 October, respectively.
“Under the present circumstances, it will be unreasonable to expect from Aleem that he will be able to perform his duties to the best of his abilities. As such, he has been withdrawn and his replacement will be announced in due course,” an ICC spokesman said.
Earlier in the day, a meeting scheduled between Indian and Pakistan cricket board officials was canceled soon after about 200 Shiv Sena workers stormed the Mumbai office of the BCCI at the Wankhede Stadium to protest the meeting.
Over two dozen protesters from the south Mumbai region were detained by the police, while a few other managed to escape.
“We are looking into it. Those detained will be booked as per law,” said a police officer.
The workers, meanwhile, said their stand is clear about Pakistan and it that they will protest in future too. “Sena will not allow cricket matches with Pakistan in Mumbai,” said Pandurang Sakpal, zonal head of Shiv Sena’s south Mumbai wing.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Shahryar Khan and the head of the PCB’s executive committee Najam Sethi arrived in India on Sunday in a bid to convince the BCCI to confirm the India-Pakistan cricket series in December.
Meanwhile BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had said that Dar’s presence will not be affected by any threat from any group.
“There was a possibility of a protest in Saurashtra as well. 50,000 people were supposed to turn up in Rajkot. So I am not going into any threat perception. The fact is that India will also host the T20 World Cup in 2016 and it is the responsibility of every Indian to keep our image of sportmanship alive,” Thakur said.
Pakistan and India have not played a bilateral Test series since 2007.
Pakistan did tour India for a short limited over series in 2012 but that failed to pave the way for the resumption of full Tests.