Shiv Sena threat: ICC withdraws umpire Aleem Dar from India-South Africa series; Akram, Akhtar opt out

The ICC on Monday withdrew Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar from officiating in the remaining two matches of the ongoing one-day series between India and South Africa in the wake of Shiv Sena gheraoing BCCI chief Shashank Manohar forcing cancellation of talks with PCB chief Shaharyar Khan.

Dar, a member of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, had officiated in the first three matches and was also scheduled to umpire in the fourth and fifth ODIs in Chennai and Mumbai on October 22 and 25, respectively.

The ICC made the decision following today’s incident in Mumbai where a group of Sena activists stormed the Board of Control for Cricket in India offices, and threatened to prevent the umpire from standing in the fifth ODI on Sunday.

Manohar and Khan were to discuss the resumption of the Indo-Pak cricket ties and unofficial talks might be held in Delhi tomorrow.

“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 withdraw and his replacement will be announced in due course,” an ICC spokesman said.

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.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar have pulled out from the commentary team of the official broadcaster for the fifth and final one day international between India and South Africa scheduled to be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on October 25, in the wake of Shiv Sena threat against Pakistan cricketers and officials participating in any activity in Mumbai.

According to sources, Akram and Akhtar pulled out on their own and their was no pressure from anyone as it was about threat perception.