Bangladesh tour delay disappointing - Whatmore
Dav Whatmore, the Pakistan coach, has said he is "disappointed" with the postponement of Bangladesh's proposed tour of Pakistan following a court stay order. Whatmore also said that he had not faced any security issues during his two-month stay in Pakistan.
Bangladesh had agreed to visit Pakistan in the last week of this month for an ODI and a T20I, both scheduled to be played in Lahore, but the tour was delayed on April 19 with a Dhaka court ordering a four-week embargo over security concerns.
"It is a bit disappointing," Whatmore said. "We were planning to quickly get started with training, but all that has been knocked on the head with Bangladesh not coming."
Whatmore, who was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated early to Australia, coached the country of his birth to their famous 1996 World Cup triumph. "From my personal point of view, I've lived in Sri Lanka, I was born in Sri Lanka, I lived through civil war there towards the end of that problem, and I am now staying in Lahore for the last two months and move around quite freely. I really don't have any problems with security."
Whatmore said the Pakistani people were starved of international cricket, which was difficult for them given the following and history of the game in the country. "It must be really hard for the people here, but do they [the rest of the world] really know how hard it is? You need to come and witness it to really know how difficult it is for a nation that has a rich history in international cricket to keep the game going without having the ability to host overseas teams."
For Pakistan, the Bangladesh tour is more a closed chapter for the moment and the series could be scrapped from the ICC Future Tours Programme as Pakistan is unlikely to host Bangladesh at an offshore venue. The PCB is, however, focussing on launching its own lucrative Twenty20 league, and is hoping to have overseas players in it - another tactic to revive international cricket in the country. Whatmore welcomed the idea and was hopeful of its success.
"Once it is known to people in the world that the PCB is planning to do this, I'm sure there will be a lot of international cricketers looking at their schedules and see that they are available in this short period of time to come and play here. I am very hopeful that there will be some very good international cricketers coming and enjoying playing in it."
With the possibility that the Bangladesh tour might not happen, Pakistan face a spare period ahead of their away series in Sri Lanka towards the end of May. Whatmore said he would ensure the players avoided getting complacent and rusty during that time.
The PCB has recently asked its centrally-contracted players to undergo a fitness test, before they are considered for a new contract. "The fitness test was designed to give everyone an idea of where they are now and after a prescription of work to re-test and see the improvement," Whatmore said.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent