Although Sri Lanka have shown the way by undertaking a full-fledged tour of Pakistan in two parts, not all teams are still convinced to visit that country. Bangladesh are set to play Pakistan next in an away series and the hosts’ cricket board has given a clear message: Either the Tigers go to Pakistan or give valid reasoning as to why they would not honour the commitment.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ehsan Mani is bolstered by the fact that the Lankan team visited Pakistan twice to take part in the limited-overs series and Test series in between a few months and there was no concern whatsoever. Pakistan remained sidelined as a host ever since a horrific terror attack took place on a visiting Sri Lankan side in Lahore on 2009.
“Bringing [international] cricket back to Pakistan was the most important goal we had. In the past we staged the Pakistan Super League, while the women’s foreign teams came as well as ‘A’ sides,” Mani said during a rescheduled media briefing at the National Stadium in Karachi, Dawn reported. “But having Sri Lanka coming over and playing Test matches was a real achievement for all of us, our fans and everyone here. This series [against Sri Lanka] was a landmark event.”
Mani said Pakistan is “completely safe” now and that the Lankans were “very happy” to play in Pakistan after a long time. While Sri Lanka won the T20I series 3-0, they lost the ODI series 0-2 and Test series 0-1.
“In fact, on the contrary, they wanted more freedom in terms of movement and sampling the day-to-day life in Pakistan. That will happen in due course and people slowly get more comfortable, their confidence will also go high. The Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi were the turning points for Pakistan cricket as far I know,” Mani added.
Bangladesh to play three T20Is, two Tests against Pakistan
Speaking on the upcoming tour of Bangladesh starting next month which will feature three T20Is and two Tests, the PCB chief said there should be no doubt over where Pakistan’s home series should take place. His message was clear that Pakistan team will be playing its home matches in Pakistan and not the UAE which has served as its home country all these years.
Mani hoped the Bangladesh Cricket Board will reflect on the matter and send its team to Pakistan without any fear. “If Sri Lanka can come — and bringing them was very high risk because they are the ones who suffered in 2009 — then it is safe,” he added.
Bangladesh have played Pakistan in 10 matches are yet to defeat them in one. Bangladesh have visited Pakistan only once till date and it was in 2003 when they lost 0-3. However, they came very close to winning the match in Multan but for Inzamam-ul-Haq’s unbeaten century that saw the hosts bagging it by one wicket.
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