PCB in talks with other boards if Bangladesh team fails to receive clearance

PCB chief Zaka Ashraf said he won’t disclose the names of the countries, but they are in touch with at least two cricket boards AFP

Islamabad: Mar 26, 2012

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf said he is in talks with a couple of other countries if Bangladesh’s national team fails to receive government clearance to tour next month because of security concerns.

“I don’t want to disclose the names of the countries, but we are in touch with at least two (cricket) boards,” Ashraf said.

“If Bangladesh says no, we have a couple of other options too.”

Bangladesh’s cricket board has submitted a security report on Pakistan to its government after president Mustafa Kamal led a nine-member delegation to the country earlier this month.

Kamal had said before leaving Pakistan he was satisfied with the security arrangements, but the board is still waiting for clearance from the government.

“I talked to him (Mustafa Kamal) in Bangladesh during the Asia Cup and he told me he was committed, but I will make a formal announcement after the security report is cleared by his government,” Ashraf said.

Foreign teams have not toured Pakistan since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009, killing six police officers and a van driver.

The PCB wants to bring international cricket back to Pakistan by hosting Bangladesh for either three one-day internationals or two ODIs plus a Twenty20 match. The host cities remain negotiable, but it is likely Lahore will be one if Bangladesh agrees to tour.

The International Cricket Council has also said that if it was not satisfied with the security in Pakistan then non-neutral umpires could be used for the series, meaning Pakistani officials on the ICC’s panel of umpires might be called upon.

“The ICC has cooperated with us a lot,” Ashraf said. “It is willing to consider Pakistan’s home umpires … which is a positive sign.”

Ashraf said the PCB is also considering the option of inviting a World XI if the Bangladesh tour falls through.

“Our aim is to revive international cricket in Pakistan and for this we are making all these efforts,” he said.

Pakistan’s next international away assignment is a test series against Sri Lanka in July. The PCB then plans to “host” Australia in Sri Lanka, playing five ODIs and three Twenty20 matches in August.

The United Arab Emirates has been Pakistan’s main “host” in the past three years, but Ashraf said Sri Lanka is the likely venue so Pakistan’s players can acclimatize in the country before it hosts the Twenty20 World Cup in September and October

“The other reason is Sri Lanka is very much cost-effective for us,” Ashraf said. “We have to spend nearly 50 per cent less if we organize the series in Sri Lanka rather than UAE.”(PTI)