KARACHI: From day one Zaka Ashraf has been on a mission to revive international cricket in Pakistan despite the prevailing sensitive security situation of the country.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief had left for Kuala Lumpur for the International Cricket Council (ICC) annual conference with two main aims – to convince boards about touring Pakistan and talks with the Indian board about the revival of a bilateral series. However, his effort received a major blow when he was given the cold shoulder by the other boards who showed ‘no interest’ in touring the country in the near future.
Pakistan have not hosted a Test nation since 2009 after the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus and while the board came close to breaking the barren run in April when Bangladesh agreed to play a two-match series, intervention by a Dhaka court poured cold water over the plans.
Ashraf, who said he was in talks with other boards, sounded disappointed after meeting his counterparts in Kuala Lumpur.
“No one is interested in tours,” Ashraf told The Express Tribune. “All the boards point towards the lack of security in Pakistan.”
The PCB chief added that the municipal authorities’ act to bring down a wall at the PCB headquarters in Lahore also left a negative impact.
“Some officials also spoke about Gaddafi Stadium wall. They were carrying the stories and asked me how they could play amid serious security issues.”
The Gulberg town municipal corporation destroyed the wall saying it was built without its approval and on a green belt. The PCB, meanwhile, said that the wall was built in accordance with the ICC’s security standards and requirements.
Talks held with India
Meanwhile, the PCB chairman confirmed that talks were also held with the the Board of Control for Cricket in India but refused to share details.
The PCB is hoping to play a short series against India later this year as relations between the two boards improved.
The discussions in Kuala Lumpur were the continuation of talks that were held during Ashraf’s visit to India for the final of the Indian Premier League.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.