PCB chief confident of international cricket returning to Pakistan in 2012

PCB chief Zaka Ashraf said he is hopeful of a positive reply by the Indian cricket board

Lahore: Nov 29, 2011

The newly-appointed PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf is confident about international cricket’s return to Pakistan next year, and hoped that neighbours India too would be visiting the strife-torn country sooner than later.

Ashraf said he was hopeful that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would break the ice and tour Pakistan next year.

“I am looking forward to seeing the revival of international cricket in Pakistan in 2012,” he said.

“India till recently had reservations about touring Pakistan due to the conditions. But I would like to see the Indians respond in a positive manner to our offer.

“We would also like to see the Indians in Pakistan at some stage,” Ashraf told the Jang newspaper.

Ashraf will be visiting India and Bangladesh next month on the invitations of the respective boards of two countries to discuss bilateral cricket ties and future tours.

Ashraf said there was not an iota of doubt that Pakistan cricket has been badly hurt by foreign teams’ refusal to tour the country due to security issues.

“Bringing back international cricket to Pakistan remains one of my main priority. It is good that our team is presently doing well and producing positive results but it is equally important that they play at home in front of their people and supporters,” he said.

He also dispelled the impression that PCB was trying to strike a deal with the Bangladesh Cricket Board over the issue of nominating a joint candidate for the ICC vice president’s post.

“If we are allowing Bangladesh to nominate their candidate it is because they deserve this right since in 2003 they supported our candidate, Ahsan Mani for the key ICC position. There is no deal involved in this,” Ashraf said.

He said in order to convince foreign teams to visit Pakistan, the PCB would soon set up a vigilance cell that would monitor the security issues and also matters related to corruption and fixing.

“We are willing to work very closely with the ICC on security matters to satisfy them. We are willing to assure foolproof security for visiting teams,” he added.

No test playing nation has visited Pakistan since 2009 after the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in which six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed. (PTI)