PCB calls for re­vival of int’l cricket in Pak­istan

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

On the fourth an­niver­sary of the ter­ror­ist at­tack on the Sri Lankan team bus in La­hore, the PCB chair­man Zaka Ashraf has called on the world to stand with Pak­istan and help re­vive in­ter­na­tional cricket in the coun­try. "It was the tragic episode in the his­tory of Pak­istan cricket," Ashraf, who is also a mem­ber of the rul­ing Pak­istan Peo­ple's Party's cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, told ESPNcricinfo. "We have suf­fered a lot in fight­ing against ter­ror­ism - a war that is the en­tire world's and Pak­istan is fight­ing as a front-line state. The whole world should stand with us in help­ing re­vive in­ter­na­tional cricket."

On March 3, 2009, the Sri Lanka team was on its way to the Gaddafi Sta­dium for the third day of the sec­ond Test against Pak­istan, when gun- men opened fire and threw grenades at the bus, killing eight peo­ple at Lib­erty round­about, one-and-a-half kilo­me­tres away from the sta­dium. The match was aban­doned, Sri Lanka left the coun­try the same day, Pak­istan was stripped of its right to host the 2011 World Cup and there has been no in­ter­na­tional cricket in the coun­try since. For the last four years, Pak­istan have been play­ing their 'home' se­ries mostly in the UAE.

Youth devel­op­ment in Pak­istan cricket is on hold as no team, even at the youth level, is ready to tour. The PCB has suf­fered a bud­get deficit for years, sta­di­ums are get­ting rusty, fans have been de­prived. Around two dozen play­ers made their in­ter­na­tional de­but for Pak­istan in this pe­riod, but are yet to play an in­ter­na­tional game in their own coun­try.

The PCB is still haunted by the im­pact of the in­ci­dent and doesn't like to be re­minded of what hap­pened. The board is now wait­ing for a change in the po­lit­i­cal land­scape in the coun­try, hop­ing it will lead to greater sta­bil­ity.

The PCB had tried to win back the con­fi­dence of play­ers by or­gan­is­ing the lu­cra­tive Twenty20 league, of­fer­ing top play­ers from around the world a chance to earn over $100,000 tax-free in 10 days. But the plan was hit by lo­gis­ti­cal ar­range­ments and the board had to post­pone it in­def­i­nitely. The PCB also tried hard to ne­go­ti­ate with the Bangladesh Cricket Board to com­mit to a tour of Pak­istan but the se­ries never hap­pened, with Bangladesh with­draw­ing af­ter com­mit­ting twice. West Indies, in re­cent times, have re­fused to send their A team to Pak­istan, propos­ing in­stead to play in the UAE.

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