'Cancel England's tour' - Miandad
Javed Miandad, the former Pakistan batsman, has urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to cancel England's tour in October this year in retaliation to the refusal by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to play a Test in Karachi citing security concerns. Miandad said that he was disappointed with England's decision and that Karachi was being isolated as an international venue despite the government's assurance on security issues.
Miandad termed England's refusal as unjustified because the ECB, according to him, had not fully assessed the security measures adopted by the local authorities. "I don't understand the ECB's logic with the tour still some months away," he told Dawn. "If Karachi is not safe for any visiting team then no other centre in Pakistan is safe for the visitors. By refusing to prolong their stay in Karachi, England are bent on damaging the image of the Pakistani people in every respect. This is not the first time that Karachi has been deprived of its due right to stage a Test match."
Miandad also cited the bomb blasts in London to buttress his argument. "What happened in London on Thursday is a case in point," said Miandad. "What took place there is very distressing. Does it mean that London is not safe enough to stage the 2012 Olympics?"
Miandad also blamed the PCB for not being firm enough while discussing the tour itinerary with the ECB officials. "The PCB should have taken a firm stand and remained adamant that England either play a Test in Karachi or the entire tour is off," he said. He added that the board should not have compromised on its interests and that it should learn from its Indian counterpart.
"Look at the Indian cricket board officials and how they handle certain situations without compromising the interests of its people," said Miandad. "They never compromise on principles if the Indian interests are hurt. They had the courage to take ICC head on and made sure a match referee (Mike Denness, the former England captain), was removed during the course of a series in South Africa."
Miandad also criticised Imran Khan, the former Pakistan captain, for supporting the ECB's decision. He said, "Imran should have refrained from making such an irresponsible statement that has given England solid grounds to make lame excuses. People should remember that sports and politics do not co-exist."
However, Hasib Ahsan, a former Pakistani slow bowler and former chief selector, agreed with Imran's views. "Imran was only reacting to a statement of the city Nazim [the mayor], who had predicted bloodshed in Karachi during the forthcoming local bodies' elections, which may have influenced England's decision to curtail their stay here," he said. Hasib was also critical of the PCB and the manner in which they handled the issue. He mentioned that there were similar security concerns in Karachi during England's tour in 1987 but the Test was played without incident. He also said that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had played Tests at Karachi in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.