Pakistan news January 12, 2013

Down to PCB to convince other nations - Richardson

Dave Richardson, the ICC CEO, has said the ICC has a limited role to play in the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan and it will be down to the PCB to convince other nations that it is safe to play cricket in the country.

"Security is not something that is taken lightly by anybody," Richardson, who was in Pakistan for the PCB awards ceremony, said. "Making a decision as to whether it's safe or not involves a serious assessment of the risk. The ICC is not in a position to do [security assessment]. It's up to the member countries to decide. They have to take advice from their own security advisors and make decisions themselves.

"The bottom line is that the ICC views Pakistan as a very important part of international cricket," he said. "Pakistan is going through difficult times through no fault of the PCB. It's our role to support Pakistan in its efforts to make sure that international cricket returns to Pakistan. As soon as possible is what everyone would like, but it's difficult to say exactly when and I think that's about as much as far as we can go at this stage."

Pakistan has remained a no-go country for international teams since the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009. In the past three years, Pakistan have played their 'home' series mostly in the UAE but reciprocal series at the junior level are on hold.Though the PCB has been desperate to revive international cricket, the efforts so far haven't yielded any positive results.

The PCB relies heavily on the government to arrange security for the visiting teams, but last year it sanctioned the purchase of bulletproof buses. Apart from working on security protocols, the PCB has been working on identifying potential new venues across the country and upgrading them to international standards. The board is also lobbying hard to win back the confidence of the teams.

"Coming from a country [South Africa] which was out of international cricket for a very large period of my career, I know that if you concentrate on your domestic cricket and you make sure you encourage people to play the game even if it's at first-class level you can reap tremendous rewards and in fact negative can turn into a positive and at the end of it all you might find that Pakistan cricket is much stronger than it was even before these difficult times."

Richardson also visited the National Cricket Academy where he was briefed about the developments in Pakistan cricket and PCB's plans with regards to promotion and management of the game in the country.

"The initiatives that PCB has put in place over the last 12 months or so I think it's the correct way to go," Richardson said and added that the recent "revival of ties with India" is a step in the right direction as the ties between the two countries are critical for world cricket.

"The announcement of the Twenty20 competition [PSL] where foreign players will be entitled to come and play if available, again that is, I think, an initiative on the right path because what you've got to do is to regain the confidence of cricketing world and I think that's a very sensible step in the right direction."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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