ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Aziz Sethi meets Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal regarding the upcoming tours of World XI, Sri Lanka and West Indies in next three months.

Talking to The Nation Sethi said his meeting with interior minister was held in a very cordial manner. “In the past too, whenever we conducted the matches, we requested Punjab government to depute Rangers for Gaddafi Stadium security and this time too, we have requested Punjab government the same and they have assured us the best possible facilities and foolproof security for the visiting cricket teams.

“I always had formal meeting with the interior minister in the past. We had issues in arranging visas for players in the eleventh hour, but frankly speaking, I am not aware, who is coming to Pakistan for the World XI. They will first come to Dubai and stay there for two days, practice there before reaching Lahore.

“I requested the interior minister to pass on directives to Pakistani ambassador in UAE to extend maximum facilities to World XI players, while we will also ensure the players, who apply for visa, could be accommodated at Lahore airport upon his arrival. I requested the interior minister to also ask FIA to allow the players and officials to land at Allama Iqbal Airport and we will arrange their visa upon arrival,” he added.

Sethi said they had faced a lot of issues regarding camera crew or official network, who wanted to cover the series. “Their luggage always has an issue, as customs officials seek guarantees in this regard. The PCB will coordinate with FIA and other law enforcement agencies and ensure everything done in smooth fashion, while the PCB and interior ministry security teams will also coordinate and chalk out plans regarding SOPs and other significant issues.”

“As I have promised to everyone that international cricket will return to Pakistan and all will be done in the best interest of the country. For the time being, I would not disclose the names of the international stars arriving to represent World XI. Former Zimbabwean captain Andy Flower is coordinating with international stars. The ICC is fully cooperating with the PCB and we will spend money, as it is about the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.

“The successful conduct of World XI tour will open floodgates of international cricket on Pakistan. We are grateful to Sri Lankan Board and West Indian Board accepting our invitation to visit and play in Pakistan. Pakistani people will give great respect, love and hospitality to the visitors and they also enjoy watching international players in action in front of them,” he added.

He said he would not sit back and ensure Pakistan cricket get its due share. “I will use all my experience, relations and contacts to the best of my abilities and ensure the ICC and ACC provide us what we deserve. I know Pakistan is one of the top cricket playing nations, but unfortunately, we were not given even handful of Test matches while India, Australia and England are taking lime share of Test matches every year. In the next ICC meeting, I will take up this issue besides others. The ICC and other boards are taking Pakistan case very seriously and hopefully, within short span of time, the ICC and the ACC may allocate hosting of some big events, which will benefit Pakistan cricket greatly.

“We deserve to host tournaments like we hosted World Cup matches in the 1987 and 1996 final, which proved huge success. The ICC and ACC along with other boards must step forward to help the PCB, as it is not about Pakistan but about helping cricket while the extremists can be defeated through sports,” he added.

“After having a successful meeting with the interior minister, I am going back to Lahore. The arrangements are in final stages and Lahore is set to host international stars. In near future, Karachi may also host international matches. I will travel to Karachi in this regard and continue giving great news to cricket lovers one after another,” Sethi concluded.