ISLAMABAD: As Pakistanis rejoice the arrival of Bangladesh team for a two-Test match series in the country, the government believes that restoration of cricket ties with India is not possible at present because of the current situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).
Bangladesh team are here to play all formats of cricket. The two teams played three T20s in January, while the first Test is currently under way at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. A one-day international (ODI) and one Test match will be played in Karachi in April.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Special Assistant on Information, Firdous Ashiq Awan, on Saturday welcomed the Bangladesh Tigers to Pakistan, who follow the visit by the Sri Lankan team in September and October last year.
Talking to media-persons at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, on the second day of the first Test, Firdous said that it was a good omen that the countries were changing their travel advisories for Pakistan, adding that international sports teams would now come to Pakistan.
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However, when asked about the resumption of cricket ties between Pakistan and India, she replied that these were “not possible” at present given the current situation in IOJ&K.
“Innocent Kashmiri people are being subjected to worst form of atrocities by Indian forces [therefore] the cricket ties between Pakistan and India are not possible,” she said. She demanded of India to immediately lift curfew in the occupied valley.
“Pakistan is a peaceful country and wants restoration of international cricket. The government also wants to promote other sports in the country,” she said. “Reforms are being introduced in other sports, including football, khabadi etc,” she remarked.
She thanked the Bangladesh team for coming to Pakistan. “Credit goes to all stakeholders who played a big role in the revival of sports in the country,” she said, adding that she especially came to the stadium to acknowledge the efforts of those who helped in the revival of sports.
Firdous praised the efforts and vision of Prime Minister Imran for the promotion of Pakistan's positive image worldwide, saying that PM Imran had revamped the cricket structure in the country, which had started paying dividends.
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“Reforms are introduced in the Pakistan Sports Board to improve its performance,” she said. “The Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry and the departments concerned are also working on improving sports activities,” she added. “Improvement will come step by step.”
Pakistan saw absence of international cricket after a terrorist attack on a Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009. The drought ended in 2015, when Zimbabwe cricket team toured Pakistan for a one-day and T20 internationals, played in Lahore.
Sri Lanka were the first team to play Tests in Pakistan after a gap of 10 years. The team played three ODIs and three T20 matches in September and October last year, followed by Test matches in Rawalpindi and Karachi.
Bangladesh’s team arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday to play a two-Test series of the World Test Championship. PM Imran welcomed the Bangladesh Tigers to Pakistan and expressed satisfaction on the return of the longer format of cricket to the country.
“I welcome the Bangladesh cricket team to Pakistan and the resumption of test cricket in Pakistan,” Imran, the captain of the 1992 World Cup winning Pakistan cricket team, posted on his twitter account.
I welcome the Bangladesh cricket team to Pakistan and the resumption of test cricket in Pakistan.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 8, 2020
After the first Test against Bangladesh, the fifth season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will kick off with much fanfare on February 20, featuring internationally-famed stars as members of Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans.
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