Lahore      -      Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Managing Director Wasim Khan has said that Pakistan is gradually moving towards revival of full-fledged international cricket as it is going to host cricketing nations like Australia and England soon.

“After a long time, the Chief Executive Officers of Australia and England cricket boards are visiting Pakistan in September and October respectively to assess the security situation and arrangements being made by us for the safety of foreign players and teams,” Wasim Khan told the journalists here at the PCB headquarters on Monday.

“In September, a delegation led by Chief Executive Officer of the Cricket Australia (CA) Kevin Roberts will visit Pakistan followed by the visit of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) delegation led by its CEO Tom Harrison in October,” he said.

“Both these visits are very important for us as the foreign delegates will themselves visit the venues and inspect the security measures and overall situation in the country, and they will find it surely in contrast to what is being portrayed by the foreign media. Hopefully, they will share very positive input with their respective governments and the ICC for taking into consideration of sending their teams to Pakistan in due course of time,” the MD added.  Wasim said the upcoming HBL PSL 2020 will also help the PCB’s cause of bringing international cricket back. “We have planned to host the PSL-5 matches in Lahore, Karachi, Multan and Rawalpindi to restore the confidence of the foreign players and the teams in Pakistan. It will also help in portraying a true image of the country to the entire world. “The PSL matches at different venues will be a profit-earning aspect for the franchisers as well as for the PCB because holding of matches at a foreign soil always proved an expensive venture with major share of income spending on holding of matches and on logistics,” he added.

He said before hosting PSL-5 matches, Pakistan will also be hosting Test series of the ICC Test Championship against Sri Lanka September this year. “I think this event will be a big step forward for persuading the foreign teams to visit Pakistan in near future.”

The PCB MD said he will travel to England on August 9 to attend the MCC World Cricket Committee meeting to present Pakistan’s case. “I have been especially invited by the committee to give a detailed presentation on security arrangement/measures, stadium and allied facilities of cricket in Pakistan. I will expertise and personal relations with former cricket captain, players and notables attached with the game in various capacities.

“All the members of the committee, who are former stalwarts of the game, are eager to lend support to Pakistan so that it should come out of isolation as no foreign teams are visiting Pakistan for quite a long time. I am hopeful that the powerful world cricket committee will extend all-out support to Pakistan in reviving full-fledged international cricket in the country,” he added.

He also revealed the proposal, which is under discussion with the MCC regarding sending its team to Pakistan on a short visit to play matches. “These are the confidence building measures, which will supplement our ongoing efforts for ensuring the return of international cricket to our country,” he added.

“The purpose of all these steps being taken by the PCB is to bring Pakistan out of international isolation and make the venues of the country jam-packed and action-packed with international matches and tournaments,” he asserted.

The MD said that restructuring of the PCB aims at turning it to world’s top cricket board in next five years. “We have evolved a long-term plan by introducing a performance-based formula to assess performance of every department of the PCB. The board is very clear about it development plan and only right people for the right job will be retained in the PCB setup.

“We have set different targets for each department and the overall performance of the PCB and its allied departments on yearly basis to know where we stand as compared to other cricket boards, which are role model for us. All such efforts will be focusing to make it world’s top cricket board in years to come,” he added.  To a query regarding National Cricket Academy (NCA), he said: “We will also be assessing the performance of the staff working in the NCA and try to make it result-oriented. We will also hire qualified young coaches to infuse a new life in the coaching system of NCA at a later stage.”

Wasim also clarified that he preferred to take up responsibility in the PCB on less salary to serve Pakistan cricket. “The salary and perks, I had been enjoying in England were far better than I am now earning at the PCB, but I decided so just because of serving Pakistan cricket and taking it to new heights.”

He said positive criticism is always welcome but negative campaign by a certain media against him presenting a wrong perception and picture about his salary and benefits. “It is not going to serve any purpose nor will discourage me in any manner. But this undue criticism is creating confusion and sending a wrong message to international community.”