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Playing in Pakistan: Cricket bodies are helpless to resolve issue

Playing in Pakistan is a bilateral matter to be decided by member nations

Gulf News

Dubai: Pakistan cricket’s plight has the sympathy of the whole cricketing fraternity, but not all nations are willing to play there despite strong assurances of safety from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

The PCB officials have been constantly knocking on the doors of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to urge the nations to play in their country. In almost every ICC meeting, they have raised the issue of the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan, but it remains an unresolved matter.

David Richardson, the Chief Executive of the ICC, even recently visited Pakistan, but stated that ICC’s role was limited when it came to bilateral tours and it was up to the PCB to rebuild the confidence in their ability to stage safe matches for players.

“Security is not something that is taken lightly by anybody, and making a decision as to whether it’s safe or not involves a serious assessment of the risk. It’s up to the member countries to decide.”

The PCB had expected support from Asian countries to play there. Despite arch rivals India hosting Pakistan for a one-day series recently, they say they are not ready to play in Pakistan.

When Asian Cricket Council chief executive Ashraful Haq was asked whether his organisation would be able to help Pakistan in reviving international there, he said: “The ACC can’t do anything to revive international cricket in Pakistan; this has to be done by the ICC.”

Though the ICC is exploring ways to help Pakistan, Richardson is unable to give an exact timescale in which top cricket could return to Pakistan. “Pakistan is going through difficult times through no fault of the PCB. It is our role to support Pakistan in its efforts to make sure international cricket returns to Pakistan. It is difficult to say exactly when that can happen.”