Resumption of international cricket in Pakistan a challenge: Zaka Ashraf

PCB Chairman Chaudhary Zaka Ashraf said removing the negativity created because of the spot fixing trial will be necessary to improve Pakistan cricket’s image

Lahore: Nov 1, 2011

Pakistan faces a “huge challenge” to bring international cricket back to the country after play was suspended following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team two years ago, new cricket chief Zaka Ashraf said Monday.

Since the attacks in Lahore, which left eight people dead and seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach injured, no international cricket has taken place in Pakistan with teams refusing to tour because of security fears.

Pakistan has been forced to play their home series at neutral venues in United Arab Emirates (UAE), England and New Zealand.

Sri Lanka refused an invitation to play in Pakistan in the wake of attacks on a military base in Karachi in May this year, forcing their hosts to play the series in UAE, with the third and final Test starting in Sharjah on Thursday.

Ashraf took charge as Pakistan Cricket Board chairman last week.”We have a huge challenge in front of us and have to work very hard to bring international cricket back to Pakistan,” he said while hosting a farewell for former chairman Ijaz Butt whose three-year tenure ended last month.

“We have to remove the negativity created because of the spot fixing trial and move forward,” he added, referring to the court case against former Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer.

“I am grateful to Mr. Butt for his valuable contribution to Pakistan cricket. He has done an excellent job despite facing many challenges and I pay tribute to his services for the game,” he said.

“I am writing to the heads of all the chairmen of other boards in a hope to revive our relations.” (AFP)