Bangladesh consider new Pak schedule ‘Only PCB can convince other nations’

DHAKA, Jan 12, (Agencies): Bangladesh will send a security delegation to Pakistan soon to see if its cricket team can visit the country in March and April for a short series, Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan said on Saturday.

A proposed tour this month was postponed for security reasons and Pakistan subsequently threatened to block their players’ participation in the forthcoming Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 tournament, which starts on Jan 18.

Nazmul told a news conference that Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf had made a fresh invitation when the pair met in New Delhi during an India-Pakistan one-day international.
‘We haven’t made any specific decisions but we discussed our end of the problem with him,’ Namzul said.

“We talked about a time slot, end of March and the start of April, otherwise we are busy in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. We will send the security team as soon as possible.”

No international cricket team has visited Pakistan since armed militants attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009, killing eight Pakistanis and wounding six Sri Lankan players.

Meanwhile, a top official of the International Cricket Council believes the game’s governing body is not in a position to convince cricketing nations to resume playing in Pakistan.

Pakistan has not hosted any major Test playing nation since the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus that killed six police officials and a van driver in Lahore.

“We (ICC) are not security experts,” ICC chief executive David Richardson told reporters in Lahore on Saturday. “I’m not a security expert to form a view necessarily about the safety or not of players. It will be up to the PCB in convincing that it is safe to come to Pakistan and they will make up their own minds in this regard.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board has been forced to organize its “home” series mainly in the United Arab Emirates since the 2009 terror attack. It has tried to convince other cricket boards to return to Pakistan, but even lowly ranked Test playing nation Bangladesh has twice postponed its tour during the last 10 months.

“Security is not something that is taken lightly by anybody and making a decision as to whether it’s safe or not involves a serious assessment of the risk ... and security plans that are put in place,” Richardson said.

“ICC is not in a position to do that when it comes to teams touring. It’s up to the member countries to decide (and) when it comes to individuals they have to take advice from their own security advisors and make decisions themselves.”

In its laTest bid to regain the confidence of international teams, the PCB announced a five-team Pakistan Super League this March in which it expects to attract 30 foreign players for Twenty20 matches.
Richardson said it’s a step in right direction.

“I think it’s an initiative on the right path because what you’ve got to do is to regain the confidence of cricketing world and I think that’s a very sensible step in the right direction,” he said. “Sometimes the perceptions don’t fit with reality and what we’ve got to make sure is that true facts are known to everybody and then of course progress can be made.”

Richardson also sees the resumption of cricketing ties between Pakistan and India as a major step and compared it with the rivalry between Australia and England.

“The English and Australians get very proud of their Ashes, but ties between Pakistan and India are critically important for world cricket,” he said.

PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf has said a number of times over the last few months that he was in constant touch with other full members of the ICC to resume international cricket in Pakistan.

But Richardson said it was difficult to give an exact time frame for when the PCB’s effort will materialize.
“Pakistan is going through difficult times through no fault of Pakistan Cricket Board really,” he said. “It’s our role to support Pakistan in its efforts to make sure that international cricket returns to Pakistan, whenever that may be.

“It’s difficult to say exactly when and I think that’s about as much as far as we can go at this stage.”

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