Cricket returns to Pak, Bangladesh confirms tour
Lahore: International cricket is set to return to strife-torn Pakistan after three years, with Bangladesh finally agree to tour the country albeit for only an ODI and a Twenty20 match later this month. No team has toured Pakistan since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus here in March 2009.
Six Sri Lankan players got injured in the attack which killed as many security men and two civilians. The ODI is scheduled for April 29 and the T20I for April 30. Both matches will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium here. "I am pleased to confirm this tour today. I know how important it is for PCB for revival of cricket in their country," Mostafa Kamal, President of the Bangladesh Cricket Board said in a statement released by the PCB.
"The public of Pakistan have been deprived of cricket and we felt that we needed to support them. The reception we received when we toured Lahore and Karachi on our security visit was overwhelming," he added. The ICC requested the PCB to immediately provide a comprehensive security plan for consideration. Thereafter, the ICC`s Anti Corruption and Security Unit will commission a localised risk assessment to determine whether its officials and staff are appropriately protected by the proposed security plan, before any further decision is taken in relation to their appointment.
Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, said: "I want to thank the BCB and the Bangladesh Government for their support for this tour. Obviously the tour is of great significance for us and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure the tour takes place befittingly." He also said the PCB had been active since last year to convince the ICC and member boards to send teams to Pakistan. "This tour by Bangladesh should eventually help us convince other boards that it is safe to play in Pakistan," Ashraf added. A senior official of the board said that the confirmation by Bangladesh was on the cards.
"They had gone back satisfied with the security arrangements we showed them when their delegation visited Pakistan. Hopefully now once they come we can also convince other teams to come to Pakistan." The official said the PCB was confident about the tour as the government was assisting it in every way and the security situation had also improved since 2009. He said the tour reflected the cordial relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh. The PCB statement said that the remaining matches of the FTP series will be played at mutually agreed dates and venues in the future.