ICC umpires' safety won't be risked - Richardson
Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, has said that the security of neutral umpires employed by them would not be risked under any circumstances. Richardson was speaking on whether Bangladesh's tour of Pakistan - in case the trip is brought up in the near future - would depend on the availability of third-country umpires.
Bangladesh twice put on hold a tour to Pakistan in 2012 citing security reasons. Earlier in the same year when the discussion between the two boards was ongoing, the ICC introduced a "special dispensation" to be made only in "exceptional circumstances" in order to ensure that bilateral series take place even if the ruling body has determined it "unsafe" to appoint its officials for such series. It would allow such series to be manned by "non-neutral match officials", a departure from the ICC's standard playing conditions, pending permission from the ICC's executive board.
"We have our duty of care to our employees and people that are contracted to us," Richardson said in Dhaka. "So we would have to look at the security situation to come to a conclusion. Is it safe to send them there? If it is, we would have no problem sending umpires to Pakistan. If it's not safe, we have a duty of care to them and we'd say no."
The March 2012 directive opened a window for the Bangladesh tour to go ahead, but later it was stopped, first by a court order, and then at the end of the 2012, due to more security concerns.
Richardson said that when the tour was being discussed, unavailability of neutral umpires was not a major factor. "They would have to go to the board and ask for dispensation from the rules regarding appointment of umpires. At the moment our rules for ODIs and Test cricket require the appointment of neutral umpires - ODIs [need] only one but Test cricket requires both to be neutral.
"If there's going to be an exception from that, the board will need to grant it. But that's not to say that they wouldn't. Previously, when Pakistan and Bangladesh were considering a tour, the board had already said that the non-availability of neutral umpires should not be the determining factor as to whether the series takes place or not."
BCB media committee chairman Jalal Yunus said that although Bangladesh were not considering a tour to Pakistan presently, they would consider it once the ICC signals something positive.
"As of now, we don't have a plan to tour Pakistan but if the ICC tells us that it is a safe environment, the BCB will definitely consider it," he said.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here