Pakistan news March 28, 2012

Lashings consider Pakistan tour

While Bangladesh's proposed tour to Pakistan hangs in the balance, it seems that Lashings are prepared to go where others fear to tread.

Lashings, the all-star cricket team based in Kent, are in talks to tour Pakistan as early as next month. While a club tour might not usually carry much significance, the fact that the Lashings team could contain well-known players from across the globe will gain media attention and support the PCB's claims that Pakistan is a safe venue for international cricket.

Pakistan has been a "no-go area" for major international cricket since an armed terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus during a Test match in Lahore in March 2009. The MCC president, Philip Hodson, has even indicated that MCC are more likely to tour Afghanistan than Pakistan.

The tour was the idea of former Pakistan captain - and regular Lashings member - Rashid Latif, who has liaised with PCB officials and feels the tour is realistic. If Lashings are to visit Pakistan, they will require funding from the PCB and guarantees over the team's security.

"I am confident that a world XI made up of players from different countries can be convinced to come to Pakistan," Latif said. "Shahid Afridi said recently he had spoken to players in the Big Bash tournament in Australia who were interested in playing in Pakistan."

"I would be delighted to take a team to Pakistan," David Folb, the businessman behind Lashings, told ESPNcricinfo. ""Rashid is a man who I have the utmost respect for and if he says it's safe for us to travel there we'd be delighted.

"Obviously the security of the players is the top priority, but as long as that is guaranteed and the money is right, I don't see getting a team together being a problem at all. It's possible we could go as soon as next month. We would be honoured to play there is the PCB would have us."

Sachin Tendulkar, Murali, Brian Lara, Sir Vivian Richards, Wasim Akram, Allan Donald and Shoaib Akhtar are among those to have represented Lashings. The team to tour Pakistan, however, is more likely to include younger players such as Lou Vincent and James Marshall. Folb also believes that his close relationship with Richie Richardson, the West Indies team manager, could see some players from the Caribbean taking part in an effort to gain more experience.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo