Bangladesh news December 31, 2012

Bangladesh's proposed tour to Pakistan put on hold


Bangladesh will only tour Pakistan if the security situation in the country improves, BCB chief Nazmul Hassan has said. Hassan, who addressed a press conference in Dhaka on Monday, was noncommittal on the issue, not saying 'yes' or 'no' to the proposed tour, but made it clear in various ways that the January visit is ruled out for the moment.

"The ICC minutes have it that we have made an unconditional commitment to tour Pakistan. But there is concern among us about the country's security situation, it has deteriorated. We don't think it will be wise to visit Pakistan at this time," Hassan said. "We have sent them [the PCB] a letter three days ago, telling them of our stance. We will again contact them when their security situation improves. And we will go in the future, because we are committed to go there."

Two months ago, Hassan had said that the BCB - without mentioning who in particular - had committed to tour Pakistan in an ICC meeting. But concerns remained in Bangladesh, and it was learnt that the players wanted full-proof security guarantees from all parties before heading to play the series.

However, the PCB has begun its preparations for an impending tour. It has already placed a tender in one of Pakistan's top newspapers, Daily Jang, inviting sponsorship bids for a series title sponsor, two co-sponsors and in-stadia advertising rights for two international matches (one ODI and one T20). The PCB has also moved the domestic first-class Quaid-e-Azam matches, scheduled between January 7 and 22 away from the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore to accommodate the proposed matches against Bangladesh.

Hassan's comments came at an "exchange of views" programme on Monday, which the BCB had arranged to discuss some of the issues in Bangladesh cricket with the media. Hassan said the BCB was aware that putting the tour on hold could sour relations with the PCB. "It isn't an easy decision for us. If we say we want to go, many people in the country will be hurt. If we don't go, there will be repercussions," he said. "We know the consequences, they may not want to send their players to the Bangladesh Premier League and our Dhaka leagues. They will probably not want to help us or support us."

The PCB had used the upcoming BPL as a bargaining chip ahead of the T20 league's player auction on December 20: the Pakistan board had not handed out No-Objection Certificates to their players to play in the tournament, the understanding being they were waiting for an official announcement from the BCB, confirming that the proposed tour would go ahead.

Several Pakistan players were however bought at the auction. The prominent ones among them included Umar Gul, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Imran Nazir and Wahab Riaz, whose participation in the tournament is now unclear.

The PCB and BCB have for some time now been discussing a short tour of Pakistan that would mark the return of top-flight international cricket to the country for the first time since the March 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore. A window had been created by the PCB to accommodate an ODI and T20 between January 10 and 15 ahead of the BPL, which starts from January 17. That window will now be missed.

The BCB have a 'written commitment' to tour Pakistan and, earlier this month, Hassan had said that they were in the second phase of talks with the PCB about going ahead with the tour, as the first phase that dealt with security issues had been completed satisfactory.

However, on December 22, Hassan said the tour was still unconfirmed, as the BCB was awaiting a security assessment to be conducted by the ICC.

Bangladesh was all set to tour Pakistan in April 2012 after a deal had been cut between the two boards, by which the PCB would back the BCB president Mustafa Kamal as the nominee for the ICC vice-presidency and Bangladesh would tour Pakistan in 2012. However, the tour was postponed after a Dhaka court order embargoed the series. At the time, the ICC had introduced a special dispensation by which bilateral series can take place even if the ruling body determined it unsafe to appoint its officials for the series. As per the dispensation, such series could be manned by "non-neutral match officials".

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shoaib on January 3, 2013, 16:57 GMT

    Pakistan don't deserve to hold International Cricket and instead of blaming others blame yourselves because us Bangla fans are not really bothered whether Pakistan holds matches again or not to be honest, no team is and when did Australia last tour Pakistan? 1998 :D

  • Zaheer on January 3, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    It is not a question of security. An invitation eleven consisting of renowned international cricketers recently played several matches in Pakistan. Several international sports teams (hockey, cycling, football, etc.) have visited Pakistan without any issues. Pakistan is the sixth largest country in the world with ore than 180 million people. So even if any incident happens in one part of the country, it has no impact on the rest of the country. In any case, there is no country in the world that is completely safe anymore.

    The attack on Sri Lankan team bus in 2009 was a rare incident and the culprits have been caught and punished. Security plans have been modified to prevent any such incident happening in future. So citing security as reason not to visit is not correct as nothing has changed in last three weeks when BCB announced the visit.

    However, Bangladesh has a right to visit whichever country it wants and Pakistan has a right to disallow its players from playing in BPL.

  • Saad on January 3, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    While I can understand Bangladesh's security concerns, I think Pakistan should withold players from the BPL. If for no better reason than simple economics - PCB has already sought sponsorship & taken on expenses to arrange the tour..this sort of "open ended" postponement will presumably make it significantly more difficult for them to secure sponsorships in the future. Witholding NOC's for Pakistani players to participate in the BPL seems like a legitimate and understandable recourse.

  • Smith on January 2, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    Pakistan fans are missing the point, instead of blaming Bangladesh team, players and backrroom staff i.e. coaches etc please blame the people running Bangladesh Cricket the BCB because it them that's involved in that mess. You are aware that our players have families and I would hate for anything unfortunate to happen to them. I think that new ICC Vice President Mustafa Kamal needs to come out and speak because it was him that was satisfied with the security arrangements and made a promise.

  • Nesar on January 2, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    The reason BCB is changing their stands to tour PAK is simply they are working hard to believe the security is good enough to conduct a tour. The situation is getting worse when PCB rushing with the tour dates. Theoretically, BCB has signed an agreement and they believe they should visit PAK sooner than later. If BCB had any prejudice that PAK is not safe at all, they should have firm in their decision. Believing the situation might change any month, and agree to a future date. When the date approaches closer and closer, and the situation get bad to worse, the pressure mounts against the tour inside the country, left them with only one choice to pick.

  • sadequl on January 2, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    Ty @ Gypsy Guru for giving the link for the Pak fans to realize what is going on there now cause by looking at the comments on this topics it seems they are sleeping or either they are day dreaming which is not letting them to know what security status in Pakistan now.

  • gnanavelu on January 2, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Pak fans must understand that just because a wrongful commitment was made by some bangla officials,the lives of the members of the team and support staff cant be taken for a ride. Those who made the deal will sit comfortably in airconditioned room and watch the match. Its the bangla players whom i feel sorry for. I too feel that pak is the most dangerous place in the world to play cricket. Just because few matches with a bunch of players out of contention in their teams, will not imply that pak is a safe place. Whatever the deal is between you two countries,i want only cricket to be played on ground and not any sort of blood sheds should happen.

  • Yasir on January 2, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    @Rafi->You are crazy lol..Just go & seek out the records..Pak record against India is far betterwhen comparing head to head..I guess you watch only World Cup matches..Try to come out of the well lol then you'll know the records & the truth

  • Underground on January 2, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    @Solid_Snake: Correct - security status has not changed from the last time BCB pondered the tour. In fact, it might not have improved from February 2009, when the Sri Lankan bus was attacked. This factor highlights the overwhelming concern.

    Yet, it was distasteful of BCB to back out of a written commitment. Then again, which subcontinental board is not the subject of criticism?

  • VINODK on January 2, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    Sensible decision by the BCB. I mean really who in their right minds would agree to tour Pakistan? I think all the Pakistanis who are complaining here better accept the fact that their country is not a place where anyone would even want to send their mothers-in-law to nowadays!!

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