Lahore - International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Officer David Richardson has said that the World XI tour to Pakistan is stepping stone towards the revival of international cricket.

Speaking at the press briefing here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday, Richardson said: “We strongly believe that hosting the World XI would be a step forward towards building confidence of sporting community. It’s a long and gradual process and soon it will start improving and help Pakistan convince other cricket playing nations to come and play here.

“It’s, in fact, a stepping stone in right direction. To grow the capability and to build the confidence, the next step is to grow and improve the capability in cities outside Lahore and build the confidence in teams like Australia and England to visit Pakistan, in fact, all the cricket teams,” he added.

Richardson thanked the Pakistani people for their warm welcome and hospitality to the World XI and hoped that they would have very wonderful and exciting series which would quench their thirst of watching international cricket at home.

He acknowledged the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) efforts for the revival of international cricket in Pakistan. “The efforts made by Pakistan especially by its all security agencies are commendable. Security is not just Pakistan’s concern, but the entire world’s. But I must admit that Pakistan has improved the security.”

The ICC chief executive said security teams are satisfied with the arrangements in Lahore, adding that the security situation in Pakistan has improved. “The PCB and security agencies deserve due credit for this,” he said.

When asked it is a perception that the ICC favours India more than Pakistan, Richardson said it is a wrong perception. "India is a very powerful cricketing country and very strong too, so it has a very strong voice at the ICC. But the fact remains that we have 12 members, and India doesn't have any more voice than any other member." He added that the current circumstances between India and Pakistan are more driven by the political circumstances.

To a query regarding no India player in the World XI, he said: “The fact is that you can’t ignore political situation between the two countries while another reason is that India has very busy FTP. They also need extra security so I think the Andy Flower and the PCB has preferred practical approach in this regard.”

Richardson also appreciated both the teams particularly the World XI for coming and playing a series in Pakistan. “This is a very good example that cricket world family has been contributing together to help a country in restoring international cricket there.”

When a journalist asked the ICC chief executive about allowing Pakistan a bilateral series, he said: “It’s not an ICC which schedule bilateral series between two countries but actually, when two countries agree, then bilateral series is held. So it’s upto to the PCB to convince a member country to visit Pakistan but for this, first they have to further improve their security.”

Richardson praised the PCB for having a very good domestic structure, which helped Pakistan survive even without having international cricket at home. “In such a tough situation, when there is no international cricket at home, it is Pakistan’s very good domestic structure, which helped them survive at international level. I hope with this World XI tour, they will start hosting more international teams and the level of Pakistan cricket will improve further.”