KARACHI: Foreign teams continue to show reluctance over touring Pakistan and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been unable to convince them either.
However, a press conference yesterday confirmed that several current and former cricketers have agreed to tour after an initiative taken by the Sindh Sports Minister Mohammad Ali Shah.
Shah, a former PCB governing board member, along with the US-based Xtreme Sports has planned two Twenty20s to take place at the National Stadium, Karachi on May 25 and 26. Sanath Jayasuriya, the former Sri Lanka captain, will lead the side that includes Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Paul Adams, Andre Nel, and Richard Levi whose 117* off 47 balls remains the quickest Twenty20 internationals century.
Jerome Taylor, Adams Sanford, Dwayne Bravo (subject to availability) will also be part of the squad which will be coached by West Indies legend Alvin Kalicharan. England’s Owais Shah has also shown interest in the matches while Afghanistan’s wicket-keeper batsman Mohamamd Shahzad is also set to be the part of the team.
Although the move is seen as a positive sign towards the revival of international cricket in Pakistan, the PCB refused to be part of the proceedings and urged the organisers to postpone the event while refusing to sanction the national team.
While a PCB official said that the board was unhappy because it was not taken into confidence at an earlier stage, Shah said the plans were confirmed very quickly.
“It should not become an ego issue,” Shah told reporters. “It all happened so quickly and we couldn’t contact the chairman because he was out of the country. We are only requesting for the national team and permission to play at National Stadium. The PCB should reconsider its decision and support the cause in the best interest of Pakistan. The team leaves for Sri Lanka on May 28 so it will be free on the scheduled dates.”
Shah added the international players have already been paid 10% of their match fees so the matches will go ahead as planned.
“We can’t pull out now. We’re hoping that that PCB will agree to help us,” he said before showing willingness to hold matches in Lahore if the PCB wanted it that way.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.