Wednesday Sep 13, 2017
LAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has termed the Independence Cup series between Pakistan and World XI as a stepping stone in the right direction but added that the complete resumption of cricket in Pakistan is a long process and will happen gradually.
Talking to media in Lahore, along with PCB chairman Najam Sethi, Dave Richardson, the former South Africa cricketer, said that security arrangements for the series are satisfying and things in Pakistan have improved during the last two years significantly.
“A test series is by its nature much longer than three T20s,” he said when asked about prospects of a full series in Pakistan.
“I think the next step is to grow capabilities, improve capabilities in areas and cities outside of Lahore, to build the confidence of teams like Australia and England, and all other teams that it’s safe to tour Pakistan on a more regular basis and for much lengthier periods of time,” he said.
Richardson, while talking further on the complete return of cricket to Pakistan, added that this might take some time.
The ICC CEO added that through this tour, Pakistan can convince other teams to tour the country but ruled out any ICC event before 2023, saying that hosting rights of all events have already been awarded to different countries.
“ICC events till 2023 have already been decided and awarded. I think Pakistan, in the last two years has made tremendous strides in improving the security situation. It is a long process and an early stepping stone. Let’s get through this tour and have other teams touring Pakistan,” he said.
Richardson further confirmed that ICC is facilitating the PCB by investing and improving security related capabilities in the country.
“ICC has already agreed to invest in security and developing and improving the security capabilities for a three year period. Whether the second and third year include a World XI tour has not been decided, maybe not,” he said.
“I think the intention would be to bring more and more PSL matches to Pakistan, but also to bring member countries to tour Pakistan, not just a world XI tour and it would be ideal to have international cricket return to Pakistan under normal circumstances,” Richardson added.
He also spoke about ties between PCB and BCCI and brushed aside the impression that ICC has been favoring India against Pakistan.
Over the matter of not having an Indian player in the touring World XI side, Richardson said that the political situation between the two countries would have added unnecessary pressure on any Indian player in the side.
He said that from a political point of view, because of the relationship, the focus would have been on the Indian player and one can imagine the pressure from the security point of view.
“PCB and Flower have taken a practical line on it.”