LAHORE - Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Chief Executive Ashraful Haq has said that the Asian body was playing its due role in bringing international cricket back to Pakistan which will be possible gradually as it is not an objective to be achieved overnight.
Addressing a press conference here Tuesday at National Cricket Academy (NCA) along with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee (MC) chairman Najam Sathi, after a meeting of the ACC Development Committee which was also attended by representatives of various Asian countries, Haq said: "The ACC is working on different options as far as revival of international cricket in Pakistan is concerned and it also includes confidence building measure and we are very keen in helping Pakistan to come out of international isolation.”
Elaborating the confidence building measures, the ACC chief said the focus was on holding different cricket related courses, activities and international cricket meetings in Pakistan. "It is not possible to bring back international cricket to Pakistan overnight, it can be done gradually,” he asserted. Haq made it clear that the Asian body didn’t enjoy the authority the way International Cricket Council (ICC) was, yet it was making collective efforts for the resumption of international cricket to Pakistan which was an important country of the Asian body.
He said the meeting reviewed the progress being made in various development plans launched by the ACC in a number of Asian continents for the further popularization of the game and some important decisions were taken for similar development projects to be launched next year.
"These programmes (for year 2015) will be launched after their approval by the ACC finance committee. Collective efforts are needed to take cricket to new height in Asia where cricket is gaining rapid popularity in a number of countries which are coming to the fold of the ACC," he added.
He said the ACC was sincerely working for the cause of cricket in Asia and it was the result of such efforts that Asia was emerging as a force to reckon with in the continent which was evident from the fact that out of eight teams which qualified for the recently concluded T20 World Cup, six are from Asia.
“Another heartening aspect is that the fifty percent teams participating in the next year's World Cup are from Asia and we are making resolute efforts for the further boost of the game in our continent," said the ACC chief.
He disclosed that the ACC was receiving 50 percent of the ICC development fund and it got sufficient funds from the holding of the Asia Cup. He added that the Asian body was striving for the provision of the state of the art cricket facilities in the Asian countries. "We are laying special emphasis on holding coaching courses for umpires, scorers, curators and other technical officials related to the game of cricket and all such efforts are bringing productive results.”
Najam Sethi said the presence of the ACC's authorities and representatives of its member countries showed the ACC's confidence on Pakistan as a country to organise important cricket-related activities.
"I am thankful to the entire ACC for their trust on us and we deeply acknowledge its efforts for the promotion of cricket in the continent. The ACC is working on a number of cricket development programmes in Asia for the overall development of the game." He reiterated the new ICC president would be from Pakistan.