Pakistan tour in doubt
DHAKA – The proposed series between Pakistan and Bangladesh that was scheduled to take place in January 2013 has been put on hold with Bangladesh unlikely to tour the country due to security concerns. This news comes despite Bangladesh making a commitment to Pakistan during an ICC meeting in October.†
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Zaka Ashraf stated that on December 21, the Bangladesh Cricket Board had confirmed a visit in January. Had the tour gone ahead, this would have made Bangladesh the first team to visit Pakistan since the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers on March 1, 2009 at Lahore.
In that attack, eight Pakistani civilians and six Sri Lankan cricketers were wounded as armed gunmen fired on the Sri Lankan team bus as they made their way to the Gaddhafi Stadium in Lahore.
BCB President Nazmul Hossain told reporters in a news conference that the board had made a commitment to tour Pakistan but there were some issues.
“The security situation has not improved in Pakistan. In the present circumstances, it will not be a wise decision to tour. We are monitoring the situation and we have conveyed our decision to Pakistan. If the situation changes, then we will honour our commitment.”
The BCB President went on to say that it was a very tough decision to take. He reiterated that Bangladesh had made a commitment to Pakistan that they would tour the country and it was even noted down in the minutes of the ICC meeting. He added that the team would have toured had even if there were no match officials in the series. “This commitment was mandatory for us. However, the board is of the opinion that the safety of the players is important.”
Bangladesh had initially planned to play a T20I and an ODI in April 2012 at Lahore but the Dhaka High Court issued a restraining order which stopped the Bangladesh team from playing in Pakistan due to security reasons.
The BCB President pointed out that Bangladesh was ready to face possible repercussions from Pakistan, who are determined to get international cricket back to the country.
Hossain added, “We are completely aware that Pakistan will not be happy with this decision. We know that Pakistan will not send their players for the Bangladesh Premier League. They will not co-operate with us in some areas but we will accept it.”
However, Afzalur Rahman Sinha, BCB member and Chairman of the Bangladesh Premier League governing council, stated that the T20 tournament will go on despite the potential absence of Pakistani players.
For the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League, more than 50 Pakistani players were auctioned. However, according to reports in the media, Pakistan had earlier said that it will not allow its players to take part in the T20 League unless Bangladesh agreed to tour.
Sinha said that no one was indispensable. “The tournament will go ahead even if Pakistani players do not come,” he quoted.