By Sarmad Ali
(Pakdestiny.com) Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan is himself scaring away foreign teams.
“The PCB does not want to take a risk by hosting a series on home soil given the prevailing security situation in the country,” Khan said in an interview with PakPassion.net.
Instead of sending a message that Pakistan is becoming safer the 82-year-old is scaring the foreign teams. He said the hesitance in conducting a home series was not only from foreign teams but also from the PCB as well. “We do not want to take a risk in which a large crowd gathered in a stadium could be subject to a terrorist attack,” he said. “The hesitation is not just from other teams, it is partly from our own people too who feel that this is a ready-made target for terrorists to disrupt and to create a negative impact on Pakistan’s integrity.”
However, on the other hand he insists the board is still making efforts towards returning international cricket to Pakistan by approaching associate teams like Ireland, Scotland, and Kenya for a home tour. “We want international cricket to return, and there are teams willing to make the trip to Pakistan, but we are a little hesitant at the moment until the air clears for a foreign team to come and visit,” he said.
He added: “We already have associate countries like Ireland, Scotland and Kenya eager to tour Pakistan. We also have other teams like the Australia Army team who have visited us before and are planning to come again later this year.”
On March 3, 2009, a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked with AK-47 rifles and grenades at Liberty Chowk near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Seven players and an assistant coach were wounded while eight Pakistanis were also killed in the attack.
Since then, United Arab Emirates has been hosting majority of Pakistan’s home series, with only Afghanistan and Zimbabwe visiting Pakistan for one series each.
Recently, the board considered shifting the September-October home series against the West Indies from the UAE to Sri Lanka due to the soaring cost of playing in the Middle East, however, the proposal fell through because of the upcoming monsoon season which would have endangered the matches in the island nation. Nevertheless, the chairman maintained that the board will still hold on to the option of playing a home series in Sri Lanka in the future. – Pak Destiny