PCB in contact with five boards, says Zaka


PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf on Sunday said they were negotiating with five boards, including Sri Lanka, to bring their teams to Pakistan and hoped that international cricket will resume in the country soon. Ashraf said the ongoing friendly exhibitions matches with a World XI was a step in that direction and it would eventually pave the way for Test teams visiting Pakistan.
“I think these matches are a good step and we supported and encouraged these matches. Despite being private matches they generated a lot of enthusiasm from the fans and will help us in our endeavours to convince big teams to play in Pakistan,” Ashraf said.
The first exhibition T20 match on Saturday saw a semblance of international return to Pakistan for the first time since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March, 2009.
Since then no Test team has toured Pakistan because of security concerns. Former players from Lanka, West Indies, South Africa and current members of the Afghanistan and USA teams are in the world eleven which came to Pakistan on the invitation of the sports minister of the Sindh province Dr Mohammad Ali Shah. Ashraf said he was happy to see the big crowds attending the matches. “The people have sent out a very positive message to the outside world that they should come and play in Pakistan.”
Ashraf also disclosed that the PCB was in negotiations with some boards to send their teams to Pakistan.
“When you talk of international cricket, we are in negotiations with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe cricket boards. I was in Colombo recently and I talked to them about sending their team. We are talking to two other boards as well but I am not going to reveal names. We have given them security plans and hope good results will come soon,” he said.
“We will give you a good news regarding the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan very soon, maybe in 2013. I am sure the day is not far when we have big time cricket in Karachi, Lahore and other cities,” Ashraf said.
Pakistan had this year invited the Bangladesh cricket Board to send its team to play a one-dayer and a T20 game in April but after agreeing to the tour the Bangladesh backed out at the last moment.
The BD board backed out after the Dhaka high court passed a restraining order on the board sending the team to Pakistan because of security concerns.
Ashraf said the board was also seeking help of former players.
“We are taking ex cricketers with us on the matter because we need their services for the revival of the game. We are doing our efforts and hope that cricket will be revived on our grounds.”
The West Indies board also recently refused to send their A team to Pakistan to play a reciprocal series because of security fears but agreed to play the series in the UAE. The PCB however turned down the offer insisting the West Indies A team must play in Pakistan.