Hope to host foreign teams in 2012: PCB

Lahore: The newly-appointed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf is confident about international cricket`s return to Pakistan next year, and hoped that neighbours including 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, a Pak daily.

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 International Cricket Council vice president`s post.