DHAKA - The uncertainty over whether Bangladesh will tour Pakistan next month and end a three-year drought of international cricket there continues, after BCB president Mustafa Kamal said they would not tour if the ICC did not agree to send their match officials.
Several moves over the past two weeks suggested the tour was going to be given the green light. These included a Bangladesh delegation approving the security infrastructure in Pakistan, and the ICC introducing a special dispensation that would allow “non-neutral match officials” for bilateral series in “exceptional circumstances”, should it find it unsafe to appoint its officials for a series.
However, Kamal has now said there was no question of the tour going ahead if the ICC did not provide officials. “We won’t go if everything doesn’t happen within the standard practice, which is the allocation of match-referees, umpires and all things by the ICC,” he said on Wednesday in Dhaka. “That [allowing officials from the competing teams] means we are not going there because ICC also has responsibility. If they don’t take responsibility, then on what basis can I send my players.”
The ICC’s recommendation to allow bilateral series to continue even though the governing body had security concerns about them had already drawn flak from the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association. Pakistan have not hosted any international matches since a terrorist attack on Sri Lankan players in Lahore three years ago. They have played most of their home matches in the UAE since then, though the PCB has been pushing hard to stage matches in Pakistan.
Kamal said he too wanted international cricket to return to Pakistan. “I am the president of the BCB and also the president of the Asian Cricket Council, in that sense I have a dual responsibility, and yes I do want cricket to happen in Pakistan but it all depends on many issues - security, the ICC’s views and the government’s approval. The discussions are on and in a short time we will announce our decision.”
Last week, a nine-member delegation from Bangladesh, headed by Kamal, had been given a two-day demonstration of the security plan for the proposed bilateral series next month. After being briefed about the arrangements, the delegation had been satisfied with arrangements in Lahore, and Kamal had been optimistic about the series going ahead.