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Cricket | Women

Zaka Ashraf © Gallo Images

Pak blame women's flop on security fears



Pakistan's cricket chief on Friday blamed the women's flop in the World Cup on security fears in host India, claiming the players were "overwhelmed".

Pakistan finished last in the eight-team event after losing all four matches, which were moved to the eastern city of Cuttack when the right-wing nationalist Shiv Sena party threatened to disrupt Pakistan's matches in Mumbai.

The International Cricket Council 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," said Zaka Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after talks with Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

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

But Malik said he would raise the issue with India.

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

Nine Pakistani players were also withdrawn from the Hockey India League over threats from Shiv Sena last month, after clashes killed five soldiers along the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir.

The two nuclear powers are bitter rivals who have fought three wars since independence in 1947.

But Ashraf also dismissed as "rumours" speculation 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, which suffers near daily Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked violence, since gunmen attacked the 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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