Bangladesh move closer to Pakistan tour


Bangladesh can tour Pakistan in April next year but they need security clearance from the game’s governing body, a top official from Bangladesh Cricket Board told AFP on Wednesday.
International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since terrorists’ attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009, which left eight people dead and seven visiting players and their assistant coach wounded.
Even before the attacks Pakistan had been a “no go” area for international teams who refused to tour the troubled country where the national army had been fighting militancy and a resurgency of Taliban activity.
Sri Lanka turned down an invitation to tour Pakistan in May this year following attacks on a military base in Karachi, forcing their hosts to shift the series to a neutral venue in the United Arab Emirates.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf on Monday said he was doing his level best to bring international cricket back to Pakistan and has invited Bangladesh to tour the country.
Mustafa Kamal, president of the BCB, told AFP his country can tour provided the International Cricket Council (ICC) clears security in Pakistan.
“I met Ashraf who is keen to bring cricket back to Pakistan and for that he has invited us also and we have an obligation to tour them but for that we need the ICC’s clearance on security,” Kamal said.
Under the ICC Future Tours Programme Bangladesh is due to tour Pakistan in April 2012.
Kamal said he has also discussed the prospect of the tour with ICC officials.
“I am also discussing the issue with the ICC officials and since they have to send umpires and other officials for the series they are also reviewing the situation and we will also continue to discuss the matter with Pakistan,” said Kamal.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat on Monday said Pakistan will be supported in their efforts to bring back international cricket to the country.
Kamal said the negotiations will continue with Pakistani officials who are due to tour Bangladesh soon.
“Since the Pakistan team is also touring us we have invited their officials to come and discuss the matter further,” said Kamal of the tour during which Pakistan play a Twenty20, three one-day and two Tests.
The tour starts with a Twenty20 on November 29.
Kamal said he felt for Pakistani fans who have been deprived of international cricket.
“I started (career) from Pakistan,” said Kamal of the times when Bangladesh was part of Pakistan before gaining independence in 1971. “I know they are cricket loving people and at some point in time, someone has to tour them to give them international cricket.”
Kamal said Bangladesh was also open to send Under-19 and ‘A’ teams to Pakistan.
Bangladesh and Pakistan were also due to nominate a joint candidate for the ICC vice presidency and Kamal hoped a final name will come up in the next two weeks.


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