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Tuesday Sep 24 2019
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We’re not paying Sri Lanka a penny to visit Pakistan: PCB CEO

KARACHI: With Sri Lankan team set to arrive in Pakistan tonight to play three ODIs and three T20Is, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said it has made its mind that it will not host any more matches in the United Arab Emirates, which has remained the country’s home venue for a long time.

Speaking to Geo.tv, PCB CEO Wasim Khan said the security situation in Pakistan has improved and that the country will now host its home matches in Pakistan.

“We have decided that we will play our matches in Pakistan,” Khan said. “Pakistan is safe and all security reports have suggested that security risks are manageable in the country.”

He added that playing in UAE is not an option for Pakistan anymore mainly because of expenses.

“It costs us a lot of money hosting there,” Khan added.

The former first-class cricketer added, “Security is fine in Pakistan, this is now our home venue. Bilateral series against Sri Lanka is important, and let me tell you that we are not paying them any extra money. They’re coming here for 13 days. Things are going in right direction for us,” Khan said adding the next goal for PCB was to host two Test matches against Sri Lanka in December.

Khan added that the visiting Sri Lankan team shouldn’t be underestimated because of the absence of some of their top cricketers.

He hoped top quality cricket between the two teams in three ODIs and three T20Is would be in Karachi and Lahore.

“Our focus was to get Sri Lanka here and which we have done successfully,” Khan said.

“The players who are coming to Pakistan have a point to prove, we must not underestimate the players who are coming. It is going to be a highly competitive series,” Khan noted.

Responding to a question, Khan agreed that it was about improving the perception about the security situation. He also agreed that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) can play an important role in winning this battle of perception.

“Shane Watson and Bravo came last time to play PSL and they had a great time in Pakistan. It is very important for us that the [players]have a good experience as they share their feedback with other players,” he said.

“With Sri Lanka coming now, we are also in talks with top players for PSL 5 to play in Pakistan which will be a good thing for Pakistan cricket,” Khan said, adding that the board was also in discussions with players association about having cricket in Pakistan.

He emphasised that Pakistan was willing to play cricket with India and PCB enjoys a good relationship with Indian counterparts in BCCI.

“They share the same desire as us to see cricket played again. But they’re dependent on government, we wish to see Pakistan vs India cricket happening again,” said Khan.

“We are willing to play with India anywhere as it is important that India and Pakistan play cricket. Cricket is a great way of bringing people together and cricket should remain cricket. We will play with India. I will be happy to explore possibilities of playing them,” Khan said.

Further, he also spoke about domestic issues, including the new domestic setup and the Pakistan team management.

“My job is to make Pakistan cricket as strong as possible,” Khan said. “People need to remember that this is about improving Pakistan cricket, this is about making ourselves the best in the world and if we want to be the best in the world then we’ll have to make some sacrifices and compromises.”

He continued, “We are trying to keep a balance between jobs and competitive cricket. My job is to make Pakistan cricket as strong as possible.”

Moreover, the PCB CEO also confirmed that the board is tweaking a clause in domestic contracts for players which will allow them to have jobs in departments.

He added Sarfaraz Ahmed will be fully empowered as captain and there will be a working partnership between him and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq.

“Misbah has authority, but he’s answerable to PCB. He has played domestic cricket, he knows players, he’s credible and knows inside out and that’s why he was given dual role, he’ll be working with six head coaches, we have confidence in him,” he said.

In response to a question about concerns expressed by PSL franchises, Khan said the concerns will be sorted out in the next two to three weeks.

“PSL franchises are important investors of Pakistan cricket, they’re our partners and it is important for us to listen to their concerns, there shouldn’t be any threat to PSL 5. We want successful tournament in Pakistan, we will be working hard to resolve issues in the next two to three weeks,” he added.