New Delhi: Insisting that the security situation in Pakistan is “much better” now, the Cricket Board chairman Shahryar Khan says the PCB can repose faith in full members to tour the strife-torn country in the near future by successfully hosting the ICC associate nations.
Khan said at present the PCB has no plans to host top cricket playing nations, who according to him have assured to “consider” touring Pakistan in future if the security situation improved significantly.
“If you compare the security situation in the worst times of 2005 to 2008 it is much better now. The incidents of terrorist attacks have gone down and we can prove that. But sometimes you can get the odd. They are few and far between,” the PCB chief told Headlines Today.
“At present we are not planning to host top teams like India, Australia, England. We already hosted Afghanistan.
Netherlands was supposed to come and they will come a little later. Ireland and Scotland are keen. Nepal I hope would be coming next month. So these associate members are ready to come to Pakistan.
“This year we will see one or two other teams visiting Pakistan. The bigger teams have told us that you get these associate teams in Pakistan and demonstrate that the security situation is much better, we will also consider,” Khan said.
“We have teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh who have said that let them come first and we will follow later.”
The PCB chief also hoped that with things getting better, Pakistan would be in a position to host India in the next five years.
“I hope so,” Khan replied when asked if Pakistan would be in a position to hosts India in the next five years.
“Because things are getting better. Peshawar and Quetta are not good but the rest of Pakistan is pretty good,” he continued.
“We have now got two or three venues – Karachi and Lahore — where we can seal the area around the stadium. The venues are very good, they are Test playing venues and you have living quarters next door which means all that the cricketers have to do is to take their kit bags and walk across under a tunnel.
“We have got this in Karachi and Lahore, and we want to do it in Multan and Faislabad. We will then have four venues where you can be absolutely 100 per cent sure that there will be no security threat. The danger is in the travel between the hotel and the stadium, this is what happened to the Sri Lankan team (in 2009),” Khan said.
Pakistan have been deprived of hosting international cricket since March 2009, after terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka team bus and a van carrying ICC officials to Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on what would have been the third day of the second Test of that tour.
Some members of the Sri Lanka contingent and reserve umpire Ahsan Raza sustained injuries, and six security personnel and two civilians were killed.
The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) and the PCB have signed a ‘binding agreement’, according to which India and Pakistan are scheduled to play 12 Tests, 30 ODIs and 11 Twenty20s spread over six series with the first one scheduled from December 2015. However, all series will be played subject to Indian government clearance.
The arch-rivals last played a bilateral series in December 2012-January 2013 when Pakistan toured India for a short series. The last time India toured Pakistan was way back in 2005-06 under the leadership of Rahul Dravid for three Tests and five ODIs.